Farmers Unearth 2.5 Million Baht in Gold Under Orchard

Gold plates found in Patthalung province, May 28 2014.

PATTHALUNG — A gold rush is now underway in Patthalung province after a local farmer found plates of gold buried beneath his palm tree orchard.

Rawee Thabsaeng, 54-year-old resident of Khao Chai Son district, said he found the gold on 25 May in the field where he had planted small palm tree shoots two weeks ago.

According to Mr. Rawee, the gold was buried 10-20 centimetres below the ground along with other small trinkets such as earrings and brooches. The plates have a Japenese inscription on them, leading Mr. Rawee to  believe the gold might have been buried by Japanese soldiers during their occupation of Thailand in the Second World War.

After the news got out, hundreds of local residents and farmers rushed to his orchard for more gold, Mr. Rawee said. More than 100 gold plates, worth around 25,000 baht each, have been unearthed so far, said a local administrative official. 

Yesterday afternoon, over 500 people were seen digging in Mr. Rawee's palm field, undeterred by constant rain showers of. Shouts of joy signalled every time a new plate was found. 

Mr. Rawee said he has not barred neighbours from digging up the gold because he sees the gold rush as "a way to distribute wealth" among the local community.

Pol.Maj.Gen. Surasak Ramayanond, commander of Phattalung provincial police, said the police have already inspected the area and determined the gold to be genuine. An initial investigation also revealed that the gold was "antique" and not associated with any recent cases of theft, he said.

Police have been dispatched to guard Mr. Rawee's field to provide security to the residents, Pol.Maj.Gen. Surasak added.

 

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