The director-general of the Apsara Authority and the deputy governor of Siem Reap announced yesterday that all “illegal constructions” inside the Angkor Archaeological Park will be destroyed next week, with any protests inside the park to be suppressed.
Speaking at a press conference in Siem Reap, Apsara Authority Director General Sum Map said 521 illegal construc-tion sites had been identified – most built during the commune election campaign – and that while authorities were eager to avoid unrest then, it would be different next week.
“If the negative impacts keep going on, we will face the withdrawal from the [Unesco] World Heritage List, and you all know about the disadvantages that would have for the reputation of our country, the economy and our people’s jobs,” Map said.
“Some of those people are vendors and we can see the constructions are not for shelter,” he said. “We have to fight against this illegal construction and illegal land-grabbing.”
Siem Reap Deputy Governor Ly Samrith said at the press conference he would ensure that “security forces” would demolish any illegal constructions that are still standing next week and would suppress any “standoff”.
“This work is for protecting our heritage and if there are any protests, what are they for?” Samrith said. “We prepared security forces already; we will not allow any standoff to happen against the heritage protection work.
Kokchak commune resident Mo Line said that he believed that his house inside the park was illegal but had not received any further information. “I have not dismantled my hut yet,” he said.