C AMBODIA has adopted a cultural protection law that will help deter art theives from pillaging the ancient Angkor temples, a UN official says.
Khamliene Nhouy-vanisvong, head of UNESCO, said "I think the government has complied with the requirements of the World Heritage Committee."
Cambodia had to pass the law - which they did, on December 21 - to stay on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites. The law carries jail sentences for art theives.
Nhouyvanisvong said though people would always try to steal art treasures, law or no law, "now we can do something [to protect the cultural heritage]."
He said during the past three months "hundreds of small, and some bigger pieces" of Angkor-era artefacts had been recovered either by the authorities or through negotiations.
"It's the first time we have been able to collect that many pieces at the same time," he said, adding that talks were underway to bring back some items from the United States and Thailand.