Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Caught with their pants down



Caught with their pants down

Sisters Lindsey (left) and Leslie Adams are addressed by an official on Saturday in Siem Reap Provincial Cour
Sisters Lindsey (left) and Leslie Adams are addressed by an official on Saturday in Siem Reap Provincial Court after they were caught posing nude at a temple. They were later deported. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Caught with their pants down

The Apsara Authority said yesterday that it is ramping up security and increasing printed warnings against desecrating temple ruins at the Angkor Archaeological Park after a second group of tourists – this time, two American women – were deported in less than two weeks for snapping partially nude photos at one of the historical sites.

Sisters Lindsey Kate Adams, 22, and Leslie Jan Adams, 20, were charged by the Siem Reap Court for trafficking pornography and exposing sexual body parts after they were caught on Friday morning with their pants down at the remote Preah Khan temple, according to a statement released by Apsara, which manages the temples. Photos of the incident circulated on social media.

Both received six-month suspended prison sentences, were fined 1 million riel ($250) and were banned from entering Cambodia for four years after Siem Reap provincial judge Kuy Soa handed down the verdict on Saturday. They were immediately deported after the hearing and sent by bus to Bangkok.

The incident comes on the heels of two photo scandals at the World Heritage Site, both of which have brought swift reactions from authorities. Three French nationals were deported after taking naked photographs on February 1, while on January 24, racy photos of a topless traditional dancer reclining on Angkorian ruins – the veracity of which are currently being investigated – surfaced on social media.

“Incidents like this have happened before but we stopped it in time and it’s very rare,” Apsara Authority spokeswoman Kerya Chau Sun said. “This is the first time we’ve had to deal with several situations like this in such a short time. I don’t understand what would drive people to do this.”

According to Chau Sun, Apsara has begun crafting flyers and signs cautioning tourists against acts that will desecrate the temple complex, the world’s largest religious monument.

Originally, the organisation was only planning to print a couple of warnings, worried that they would “destroy the beauty of the site”, but the magnitude of the situation, she said, has pushed them to dispatch more flyers around the archaeological park.

Apsara also plans to further beef up its security – especially in more secluded zones – from the current 1,000 guards patrolling the 40,000 hectare site.

“We have already increased security but it looks like we need to amplify it more when it seems that some people don’t care about how they offend Cambodian culture,” Chau Sun said.

UNESCO cultural specialist Philippe Delanghe decried the women’s actions, calling them “appalling”.

“Angkor is still very much a sacred site and people go there to pray every day and this is something that should never occur,” Delanghe said. “I think for the future Apsara and the government will consider different and more severe measures like maybe increasing sentences.”

The motivation behind the sudden upsurge in nude photo shoots at the temple ruins, however, remains a mystery.

“It is indeed very strange but we definitely don’t think it has anything to do with security because the fact that these girls were caught immediately is a sign that Apsara is doing its job,” Delanghe said.

“Frankly, we don’t understand why they’re doing this,” Chau Sun added. “Maybe the girls copied the others, but whatever it is, it’s disrespectful.”

Similar incidents, Delanghe confirmed, have happened in other World Heritage Sites across the globe, and UNESCO is advising Apsara on further steps to take to remedy the situation.

The Angkor Complex remains the crowning jewel of the Kingdom’s tourism industry. Last year, it brought in $59.3 million in revenue after more than 2 million foreigners visited the site.

“With more people visiting the site, taking a photo like this is very hurtful to Khmer culture and will set a bad example,” said Siem Reap tour guide Khieu Thy.

Contact information for the two American women was not immediately available.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested