A Cambodian court has sentenced five men to seven years in jail each for stealing a golden urn said to contain relics of Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.
The disappearance of the urn believed to contain hair, teeth and bones of Buddha and several small statues came to light in late 2013, sparking a nationwide manhunt in the Buddhist- majority country, the AFP news agency reported.
Authorities recovered the urn and the relics during a raid in February 2014 at a house in the southern province of Takeo, around 130 kilometers away from the shrine in the city of Udong.
Several people were arrested in connection with the theft.
Yesterday the court in Kandal province, where the theft took place, found five men including four guards at the shrine guilty of stealing the urn along with the relics.
Judge Say Samphors Serey sentenced each of the men to seven years in prison for “stealing items of Buddhist worship.”
A sixth man was acquitted. The relics are believed to have been brought from Sri Lanka to Cambodia in the 1950s to celebrate 2,500 years since the birth of the Buddha. (Colombo Gazette)