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Thai arrested for insulting icon

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Thai national Sorlavon Kamsorn stands with police holding the Angkor Wat carving that authorities say he disrespectfully placed on the ground near his toilet.

A THAI national was sent to Banteay Meanchey provincial court on Tuesday for insulting Angkor Wat temple and illegally entering Cambodia, provincial police said.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sorlavon Kamsorn was arrested on Sunday in Banteay Meanchey province's O'Chrov district after police discovered a cement representation of Angkor Wat that Kamsorn had placed outside a toilet, Banteay Meanchey provincial police Chief Hun Hean said Tuesday.

"He was arrested because he put the cement picture of Angkor Wat temple outside his toilet and stepped on it every day," Hun Hean said.

"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 Kamsorn's odd lavatory decoration to local police, who subsequently arrested him and confiscated the picture as evidence.

Hun Hean suspected that Kamsorn's placement of the picture was part of a plot to sabotage Cambodia's archeological prestige.

"His action coincides with the visit of foreign experts to the conference about the conservation of Banteay Chhmar temple. That proves his malicious intentions," the police chief said.

Chuch Phoeung, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said Tuesday 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. "I can't say how serious the punishment will be. That depends on the legal process."

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