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Insolent Thai jailed for illegal border-crossing

Insolent Thai jailed for illegal border-crossing

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Thai national Sorlavon Kamsorn at Banteay Meanchey police station on August 10.

A THAI national arrested for insulting Angkor Wat and entering Cambodia illegally has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Sorlavon Kamsorn, 39, was arrested earlier this month in Banteay Meanchey province's O'Chrov district after police discovered a cement representation of Angkor Wat that Sorlavon had placed outside a toilet.

"He was arrested because he put the cement picture of Angkor Wat temple outside his toilet and stepped on it every day," Banteay Meanchey provincial police Chief Hun Hean said at the time. "He told us he put the picture there because he loves Angkor Wat, but if he loves Angkor Wat, why would he put a picture of it outside his toilet?"

Nuth Ly, O'Chrov district police chief, said villagers reported Sorlavon's actions to local police, who subsequently arrested him and confiscated the picture as evidence.

Hun Hean said he suspected that Sorlavon's placement of the picture was part of a plot to sabotage Cambodia's archeological prestige, and Chuch Phoeung, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, warned that such insults would not be tolerated within the Kingdom's borders.

"These kinds of foreigners shall be punished according to the law. If they stay in Cambodia and they do something unacceptable, they must be prosecuted," he said at the time. "I can't say how serious the punishment will be. That depends on the legal process."

The charge of insulting the Khmer civilisation's most prestigious temple has since been dropped, however, due to lack of evidence, the court said.

"He was sentenced to three months in prison for illegally entering Cambodia, but he was not charged for putting the Angkor Wat temple picture by his toilet," Ton Seiha Dechas, Banteay Meanchey province's court prosecutor, said Wednesday.

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