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Foreigners quizzed over Angkor stickers placed near toilets

SIEM REAP PROVINCE
POLICE questioned and briefly confiscated the passports of two foreigners after employees at a Siem Reap hotel reported finding a sticker depicting Angkor Wat pasted on the floor near hotel lavatories, provincial authorities said Monday.

Provincial Deputy Governor Bun Tharith said he led an operation to question Filipino Jose Jaime Dela Fuente and Malaysian Cheah Beng Lin on Sunday night after receiving information that a sticker bearing an image of the iconic ancient temple had been posted near a restroom at the Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotel.

“That hotel often has such accidents,” he said, and added that the two foreigners were both employees of Canadian company OMG Advertising, which was hosting a conference in the hotel when the sticker was discovered.

The sticker, featuring a stylised image of the temple and the words “Siem Reap 2010: Breaking Boundaries”, was apparently part of the promotional material produced by OMG for the conference.

Sofitel’s general manager, Charles-Henri Chevet, said it was the first time he had seen the OMG stickers pasted around the hotel.

“When I saw the sign of the temple on the floor, I definitely and immediately reacted because I personally think it was not paying respect to Khmer culture, Khmer people and to Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said.

“As an hotelier, I am very proud to promote the country.”

A staff member at the Sofitel Hotel’s restaurant, who gave her first name as Rany, said posting the sticker on the floor was very disrespectful to Cambodians.

“This is really looking down on Khmers, and we cannot accept this because [Angkor Wat] is the symbol of the Khmer,” she said.

“I ask the authorities to solve this problem fairly, do not let them to look down on Khmers.”

Heng Pheng, deputy prosecutor for Siem Reap province, said he had ordered police to return the foreigners’ passports after they were questioned because there was no law against posting stickers.

Dela Fuente and Lin could not be reached for comment Monday.

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