Police in Siem Reap province are investigating the provenance of an anti-personnel land mine found near an entrance to the Angkor Archaeological Park on Tuesday, but suspect that it was likely not planted there deliberately.
Deputy provincial police chief Nhik Keo said villagers reported finding the mine at about 6:30 a.m. on the side of a dirt road that leads to the front gate of a local military base, about 50 meters from the ticket stalls at the park entrance in Siem Reap City.
Mr. Keo said the Soviet-made OZM-4, designed to shoot out of the ground when triggered before exploding, was found lying on its side with no detonator.
“Maybe someone accidentally dropped it,” he said. “No one placed it here, because it had no detonator to explode. We are investigating the case.”
Mr. Keo said officers with the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), the government’s demining arm, arrived and safely removed the mine at about 7:20 a.m. According to CMAC’s website, the OZM-4 weighs 5 kg and has a blast radius of up to 200 meters.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said it was common for villagers who find mines to leave them out in the open for local soldiers to find, and suggested that this may have been one such case. He guessed that the device found Tuesday dated back to the late 1980s.
Mai Samkal, chief of Bei village in Siem Reap City’s Slakram commune, said the mine was unlikely to have injured tourists had it exploded.
“The mine was found north of the ticket stalls for Angkor visitors,” he said. “But tourists don’t often walk this way because it is an access road for the military base.”
Military officials could not be reached for comment.