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Angkor Thom vendors to relocate

Siem Reap province

THE Apsara Authority said yesterday that it plans to relocate 52 vendors from three sites at Angkor Thom, prompting some vendors to voice concern that they will be cut off from tourist traffic.

Chrun Sophal, director of the communications department at the Apsara Authority, said the 52 vendors – who are currently stationed on the southern side of Bayon temple, near the Angkor Thom gateway and near Phimeanakas temple – would need to register today for a lottery to ensure they receive plots of land at the new site.

He said officials had become concerned that the vendors were damaging the site by “throwing dirty water onto the ground”.

“Our purpose is to ensure sanitation, good environment, good order and good security,” he said. He added that the new site would be temporary, and that officials had not yet settled on a permanent site that would afford the vendors access to tourists while preventing damage to temples and artefacts.

Earlier this year, officials relocated 97 vendors from the north side of Bayon temple, saying the area needed to be cleared for festivals there.

So Sokhan, a vendor who has been based at Phimeanakas temple since 1996, said the proposed relocation site 500 metres away was “too far and quiet”.“We want to protest, but we realise that we will not win because northern Bayon’s vendors protested, but they did not win at last,” he said.

He and other vendors said that 100 stalls stood to be affected by the planned relocation.

This figure was dismissed by Chrun Sophal, who said some of the stalls in that tally did not have owners, and thus were not being considered for inclusion in the lottery.

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