The Apsara National Authority (ANA) said 1,799 families living in the World Heritage Site are allowed to renovate, repair, and construct small houses. However, excessive work that affected the aesthetics of the Angkor region would not be tolerated.

The statements, made on the ANA Facebook page on March 13, said that the 1,799 families were split across five regions – 259 families in Bakong district, 202 families in Angkor Thom district, 436 in Puok district, 660 in Siem Reap city and 242 families in Banteay Srei District.

“We tolerate house repairs and renovations including fixing and changing of rooftops, wall repairs, pillar and ladder repairs, eaves, brick sidewalk construction, chicken coop and toilet constructions, land refills, cow shed construction and other repairs or constructions of this nature,” it said.

ANA also said that authorities would check that houses in communities had the relevant documents to prove they were longstanding residents and not newcomers.

“By checking the relevant documents, we can ensure that these repairs and constructions are necessary for the livelihood of those who have lived in the communities for generations.

The ANA has created a community team to aid those in the Angkor area, which covers 401sq km across four districts, 21 communes and 112 villages.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on March 16 that according to World Heritage Site guidelines and the law, new construction in Angkor was prohibited.

However, there were people who had migrated, bought the land and begun building new houses he said.

“There are people who have bought land within the Angkor Heritage Site and built houses. We have made a two-step plan to deal with this. First, we have to deter migration to the area and stop new houses being built.

“Second, newlyweds in the Angkor Area who are moving out of their parents’ houses are encouraged to relocate to Thamacheat village, which is a new area that ANA has designated for the population.

At the village, newlyweds will receive a house and 0.5ha for farming,” he said. The number of citizens in the Angkor Heritage Site was reported to be at 100,000 in 2004.