Tea Banh backs crackdown on Angkor park homes

Source: Khmer Times

Defence Minister Tea Banh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Defence Minister General Tea Banh has called on Apsara authorities to continue demolishing illegal buildings within Angkor archaeological park, in line with Unesco principles.

Gen Banh, who is also chairman of the National Working Group for Siem Reap province, said the constructions must be removed to protect national heritage.

He made the comments following a meeting of the working group yesterday.

The Apsara authority has been instructing the owners of more than 500 buildings to remove their constructions from zones 1 and 2 of the Angkor park.

“The site must be protected since our nation has a reputation for its heritage. Action must be taken where there are risks, whether the illegal construction is 100 metres or a kilometre away from the temples. We need to work together to solve this problem,” Gen Banh said.

He also called on the Apsara authority, local officials and law enforcement agencies to refer to Unesco’s instructions on protecting the archaeological park.

Unesco representative in Cambodia Anne Lemaistre earlier this week lauded the Apsara authority’s moves to prevent and remove illegal buildings in zones 1 and 2.

“We encourage the Apsara authority to continue to protect zone 1 and 2 as much as possible,” she said.

Apsara and police from the Interior Ministry’s department of heritage protection have already begun destroying more than 500 newly built constructions in Angkor archaeological park.

According to the ministry, people constructed buildings at 523 illegal locations from May 20 to June 2.

These homes pose a threat to the ancient temples in the Angkor complex, it said, including Neang Pov, Banteay Kdei and Banteay Srey temples.

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