Malaysian villagers affected by gold fever

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JAKARTA, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - Hundreds of villagers in Malaysia's southern Johor state are flocking to local beaches after rumors that gold has been discovered in the sand, regional media said Thursday.

"The term 'golden sands' has taken on a whole new literal meaning" - the New Straits Times said, adding that the irony is that the sand at the beach is not even golden, but grey and slightly muddy.

Hundreds of people rushed to the beach after several residents said they had found gold in the sand worth $900 last week. Local authorities had to send police to patrol the area to avoid any incidents.

"The gold found here is of high quality and I buy them at 68 ($20) to 70 ringgit ($21) per gram, it was certainly no fool's gold," one of the gold buyers said.

Men, women and children continue the search even at night, illuminating the beach with torches and candles, and swirling the sand with the sea water in pans.

"It is a blessing to all of us. It is amazing that we can find all these gold on the beach, without digging or mining," exclaimed one of the gold hunters.

A police officer, who declined to identify himself, said people are exaggerating the gold discovery.

"It's gold dust actually," he said. "It's not economically worthwhile."

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