The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has urged the public and tourists to stop writing or painting graffiti on the ancient temples in Siem Reap province which it said amounted to vandalism and undermined the value of Cambodia’s national cultural heritage.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post that there have been many incidents in the past of people writing graffiti on the ancient temple stones because they mistakenly believed that it would bring them good luck.

Kosal said the authorities had detained some citizens for guidance on this issue in the past and had also banned some troublemakers.

“We demand that people stop writing on the ancient temples, which are the heritage of our ancestors – our national heritage. Such graffiti does not help to maintain the temples or show love for them. It just damages them,” he said.

Kosal said the ANA has placed agents at some locations around the temples at different times to watch for vandalism but the temples are numerous and they cannot be everywhere at once.

Kosal said that to maintain and preserve the temples most effectively they need the cooperation of all the visitors.

Taing Leng, a Phnom Penh resident, regrets seeing people damaging cultural heritage out of superstition by writing their names on the temples.

“Writing your name on the temple stones cannot make you lucky. It is a heinous act,” he said.

Leng called on the ANA and the police to take stronger action to prevent such activities.

Chhorn Eang, another Phnom Penh resident, said that the tradition of writing on the stones of the temple has been going on for many years.

Eang said most of the vandals are young people who are in love or believe that writing on the temple will make their wishes come true.

“This activity will destroy the beauty of the ancient temples and erase all the ancient letters,” Eang said.