Precious Buddhist relics stolen in Cambodia

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Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 7:03 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian officials say a golden urn containing what are considered to be remnants of the Buddha's body has been stolen from its shrine near the capital.

Government spokesman Ek Tha said Friday that the relics have enormous cultural and religious significance for Cambodians, noting that the late King Norodom Sihanouk moved them in 2002 from Phnom Penh, the capital, to the mountain shrine in the former royal city of Udong, in a ceremony attended by tens of thousands.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said the theft was discovered Tuesday when a guard found the lock to the shrine's door had been destroyed and the urn removed.

He said police questioned 13 of the shrine's guards and detained six as suspects, but that authorities had no information on the relics' whereabouts.

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