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Souvenir sellers 'beaten' by Apsara officials

Two souvenir sellers working outside Siem Reap province’s  Banteay Srey temple have filed a complaint following claims they were beaten with electric batons by officials from Apsara Authority.

Horn Soveng, 17, and Cheang Seab, 21, have said they filed the complaint to rights group Licadho on Friday, following the alleged attack.

Horn Soveng claimed that officials had confiscated scarves from her and warned her against marketing her wares. When she tried to grab the scarves back she was beaten on her elbow and wrist, the teenager said. Her friend alleges she was hit in the stomach and wrist after attempting to intervene.

“The government has to punish those officials through the law. Even though we were not abiding with the plans of the Apsara Authority [by selling outside Banteay Srey], they don’t have the right to use an electric bat to beat us,” said Cheang Seab.

Eat Sivlong, investigation official at Licadho in Siem Reap province, said that they had received a complaint from a 21-year-old seller. As Horn Soveng is a minor, her family must file a complaint on her behalf. “This case is rights abuse and Licadho is investigating before we send the case to the court,” he said.

Dum Hak, deputy director of Apsara Authority in charge of public order, said yesterday that his officials had been protecting themselves after a group of souvenir sellers fought them with sticks and stones after they were asked not to sell goods.

Officials have banned sellers from touting their goods in front of Banteay Srey temple as it affects public order and disturbs to the tourists.

“Apsara Authority will eliminate the sellers in order to organise public order better,” he said. He said that it is the sellers’ right to file a complaint to Licadho. Apsara Authority officials, however, work to benefit the nation and not personal concerns.



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