Angkor Wat tourists, cover up or keep out

Photos on Cambodia's Apsara Authority website show tourists in skimpy clothes at the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Photos on Cambodia's Apsara Authority website show tourists in skimpy clothes at the Angkor Archaeological Park.PHOTO: APSARA AUTHORITY

From Aug 4, scantily clad visitors will not be allowed to enter Cambodia's sacred site

PHNOM PENH • Tourists showing cleavage or wearing skimpy clothes will be banned from Cam- bodia's Angkor temple complex, the authorities said yesterday, after a slew of photos emerged of scantily clad visitors at the sacred site.

From Aug 4, tourists wearing "revealing" clothes will be asked to cover up or face a bar from the vast site, according to the state agency charged with managing the Angkor complex.

Mr Long Kosal, of the Apsara Authority, explained that clothes considered to be revealing would be "too short - so they reveal buttocks - or not wearing bras, or T-shirts that show the back and upper body". "The clothes show disrespect to our beautiful culture and tradition," he added.

The decree by the Apsara Authority carried photos showing tourists who appeared to be Western in various states of undress at the site - including a woman walking around in a T-shirt and her underwear.

Angkor is "a sacred place of the national and cultural soul", the statement added.

Last year, several tourists were arrested for taking photographs in the nude at the Angkor complex. They received suspended sentences and were expelled from Cambodia. Their arrests followed a series of photos of Asian women posing in the nude at ancient Cambodian temples which went viral online, outraging officials.

DISRESPECTFUL ATTIRE

The clothes show disrespect to our beautiful culture and tradition.

MR LONG KOSAL, of Apsara Authority, the state agency charged with managing the Angkor temple complex.

The Angkor Archaeological Park, a world heritage site, contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, and is Cam- bodia's most popular tourist destination. It is also one of Asia's most-visited sites. More than two million tourists travelled to Angkor last year.

Separately, Cambodia yesterday dismissed accusations by an anti- corruption pressure group that Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family have amassed US$200 million (S$270 million) in business interests, including some with links to land grabs and environmental destruction.

The accusations, in a report by the group Global Witness, come during a period of rising political tension between the veteran Prime Minister and the opposition hoping to challenge his grip on power in local elections next year and a general election in 2018.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan derided the report. "It has no quality," he said. "It is just accusations. The report is personal propaganda against Hun Sen, the elected Prime Minister."

Global Witness said the companies that Mr Hun Sen's family held interests in had links to well- known global brands. The interests represented "undoubtedly just a fraction of the true value of the family's business holdings".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Angkor Wat tourists, cover up or keep out'. Print Edition | Subscribe