Authorities in Kampong Chhnang province’s Baribo district have removed what was said to be a Vietnamese statue on Kranhan Island after the villagers said they were unhappy about it.
Commune police chief Peng Dy said the statue featured a Cambodian god, but was in the wrong style.
“The statue had just been placed there and then we were informed and we went and removed it,” he said.
“After we found out about it, we reported to the district authority to request permission to remove it.
“We are not going to investigate. It is actually a Cambodian god statue, but was made wrongly.”
Mr Dy said the area involved was a place where people have strong beliefs and where they went to pray for happiness.
“There is the belief from the past in ancestors grandpa and grandma Nhans who give what they pray for,” he said.
District governor Khoun Savrom said that initially a charity group asked the authority to renovate the area, but they secretly placed the statue there. Sam Chankea, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, welcomed the move by the authority and said that the rights to religion must be exercised properly.
“The removal of the statute does not affect the rights to belief,” he said.
“In Cambodia, the government is open for religions and belief, but you have to make sure that that kind of belief is not the kind that provokes incitement and cheating,” he said.
“The authority has the right to correct it and make it right,” he added.