Police in Kampot province are searching for a group of five or six men suspected of stealing a gold urn worth $30,000 from a pagoda on Tuesday evening, police said Wednesday.
Monks at the Prey Tom pagoda in Toek Chhou district reported seeing a regular visitor climbing atop the chief monk’s quarters, where the urn is kept in a safe, before two cars sped away, said district police chief Sam Ouk.
“Based on what the monks said, these men stole the gold urn…when the monk chief went outside,” Mr. Ouk said.
“One car was parked near the pagoda gate and another one was parked near the monk chief’s house.”
Ek Chantha—who was well-known by the clergy and possessed a key to the safe where the urn was kept—was identified by a monk as having climbed onto the chief monk’s residence before getting away in one of the cars, the police chief said.
“Immediately after he stole it the monks called him telling him to bring it back. That guy responded: ‘I will return it tomorrow’ but now no one can reach him.”