A group of Vietnamese tourists and their Cambodian guide were briefly held for questioning on Wednesday after they attempted to perform a prohibited religious ritual inside Siem Reap’s Angkor Archeological Park.
According to a video posted on Facebook, security guards halted the ceremony inside the Angkor Wat temple after which an argument broke out between park officials and the tour guide.
The clip shows the guide arguing in favour of his foreign clients, saying they were just exercising their beliefs, adding that the guard had no right to stop them.
The guard countered that rituals inside the park must be given special permission and that the tourists were required to stay and answer questions from the police.
Apsara Authority, the park’s operators, said the tourists were warned and advised after the guard spotted them.
Its spokesman Long Kosal said the action was prohibited as the group did not have permission from park authorities.
“Before performing any ritual in the temple, obtaining permission from the authorities is a must. Not only in Angkor Wat Temple but also any other temple,” he said, adding that officials research any event before it is allowed.
He claimed that it wasn’t only locals who could perform religious ceremonies in the park. He mentioned hosting an Indian ceremony previously.
“We don’t have any serious punishment for those who attempt to perform without permission. However, they will be watched closely everywhere they go,” he said.