Ponhea Leu district police arrested two people on November 17 in Kandal province for destroying religious statues at the Trai Trung pagoda on Basith Mountain in Chhvang commune, Ponhea Leu district.
Ponhea Leu district police chief Duong Teng said the two – Kong Samnang and Bin Sophea –were sent to court on November 18 on charges of vandalizing several statues and other property.
He said damage was done to statues of Preah Neang Leak, Preah Neang Pov, Koh Ma Pech, Preah Ang Chek and three statues of Preah Klas. One flower pot, two jars and some prayer accessories were also destroyed along with four statues of Preah Neang Tep Pranom, two Dragon Head statues and the pagoda’s gate.
Teng said Samnang was the one who committed the act, while Sophea was just a taxi driver. He said the reason is related to mental problems.
According to Teng, Sophea is not in the wrong but he was detained because he is a taxi driver. He was hired to take Samnang to a sacred place to burn incense and pray. He did not expect he would destroy sacred statues. However, Teng sent both of them to court to let the court decide.
The Post could not contact Kandal Provincial Court spokesman So Sarin for further comment.
Sot Sim, an officer at Kandal Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts who is also the conservator of Basith Mountain said on November 18 that he made a phone call to Chhvang commune police because there were two people driving a car on Basith Mountain.
One ran to the pagoda, kicked the door in and destroyed sacred objects, he said.