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Aspara Authority enforces food ban

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
A man collects rubbish from a group of people eating in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Apsara Authority yesterday warned that authorities have started taking action against those who consume food or alcohol at the Angkor Wat moat, Prohm Kel temple and Trapaing Ses pond in defiance of a prohibition which came into effect on Tuesday.

The ban also applies to food vendors who ply their trade in the area, but not those who have been allowed to operate stalls there.

In August, the Apsara Authority issued the prohibition, but allowed a 45-day grace period for vendors and tourists to comply.

Long Kosal, Apsara Authority spokesman, yesterday said the prohibition applies to activities such as selling food, selling or putting up mats or hammocks, having loudspeakers and consuming alcohol around the Angkor Wat moat and other areas.

He said following Tuesday’s expiry of the grace period, Apsara along with relevant police units and local authorities are sending working groups to the ground until Monday to flush out, educate and warn vendors who are not complying with the ban.

“During the week, offenders will be asked to sign a contract promising to stop these activities,” Mr Kosal noted. “If they continue to defy the ban, officials will confiscate prohibited materials such as mats, hammocks, and other items.”

Mr Kosal said visitors found consuming food or alcohol will also be warned and subsequent offences will result in fines, but the amount has not been fixed yet.

He added that the authority is also looking into taking action to stop vendors from selling souvenirs or toys in front of Angkor Wat temple.

“These measures are aimed at maintaining order, promoting clean environment as well as honouring the great sanctity of the Angkor area,” Mr Kosal noted.

He appealed to all citizens, vendors, and tourists to participate in taking care of the environment and to completely stop activities such as selling or putting up mats, and also consuming food and alcohol on the grass around the Angkor Wat moat.

Chann Roeurn, a tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap province, yesterday expressed support for the action taken to preserve the environment and public order around the Angkor Wat compound and to discourage activities which invite criticism from local and international tourists.

“After the expiry of the grace period, I don’t think it is necessary to request anyone to respect the prohibition,” he said. “The authorities should punish those who defy the ban by seizing prohibited items.”

“I feel embarrassed when I transport passengers and find them sitting in the compound to consume alcohol and play loud music to disturb others,” Mr Roeurn added.

Minea Sengky, 18, who was visiting Angkor Wat temple, yesterday said that eating food and consuming alcohol on the grass around the Angkor Wat moat could result in anarchic waste if people do not dispose of leftover food, plastic bags, bottles or cans properly.

“I think it is good if there is the prohibition on consuming food and alcohol,” she said. “If possible, I would like to ask the authorities to add more trash bins in the temple compound, especially around the moat, to make it easier for tourists to dispose of rubbish and to help promote the environment, hygiene and beauty of the temple.”

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