Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Statues built on ancient bricks

Statues built on ancient bricks

Authorities remove a recently erected Vietnamese statue from its plinth on Tuesday in Kampong Chhnang province after it was alleged to have been installed on bricks taken from a cultural site. Photo supplied
Authorities remove a recently erected Vietnamese statue from its plinth on Tuesday in Kampong Chhnang province after it was alleged to have been installed on bricks taken from a cultural site. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Statues built on ancient bricks

Authorities in Kampong Chhnang took down two Vietnamese religious statues on Tuesday that had appeared overnight, after it was discovered their base was made of bricks allegedly stolen from two ancient temples.

The statues appeared on a small hill in front of a Vietnamese monastery in Boribor district’s Chhnok Trou commune, close to Bros Temple and Srey Temple.

Chhnok Trou commune chief Somrith Pheng yesterday called the unlicensed building and use of the bricks a serious crime and demanded justice.

“It is an act that looks down on the national culture and religion of Cambodian people; they had to be pulled down and the culprits must be arrested and punished,” he said.

Authorities charged with removing the statues, however, took less aggressive action, and simply placed the figures in the monastery so that people from the local Vietnamese community could continue to worship them.

Members of that community reportedly told authorities they suspect a Vietnamese monk known as “Thanh” was responsible for the construction.

They said Thanh had lived in the area since mid-2013, but had vanished since the statues appeared.

Authorities said they had noticed bricks gradually going missing from the temples since 2013.

“After we pulled it down we found 96 bricks [from the temples],” said Thorng Channa, who works in conserving the ancient structures.

The treatment of the statues marks a departure from more aggressive acts carried out against constructions considered to be Vietnamese elsewhere in the country this year.

Last month, an unlicensed religious statue was demolished in Siem Riep province, while in April locals in Siem Riep burned down an archway built for Khmer New Year.

Both were said to have Vietnamese designs.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • Nesat beach: A magnet drawing tourists to the Kingdom’s coastline

    A white sandy beach lined by countless coconut trees awaits travellers off Cambodia’s southwest coast in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district, about 170km from Phnom Penh. Over the past few years Nesat beach – a name inspired by a nearby fishing village – has

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that

  • Huawei applies for OS trademark in Cambodia

    China's Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS, Reuters has reported. Huawei has applied to trademark the “