200 Tuk-Tuks Force Way Into Angkor Park

Around 200 tuk-tuk drivers forced their way into the Angkor Arch­ae­o­logical Park Wednesday, ending a short-lived plan to keep motor-taxis, tuk-tuks and taxis out of the park and away from ferrying people di­rectly to the temples, officials said.

Siem Reap Deputy Governor Chan Sophal said the tuk-tuk drivers pushed open gates and that authorities will be meeting to discuss an official response Friday.

On Monday, hundreds of tuk-tuks blocked the entrance to Ang­kor to protest the new travel restrictions, which require them to drop their passengers and set down in a designated car park and pay fees on an hourly basis.

“Provincial authorities and the Ap­sara Authority are discussing the matter,” Chan Sophal said, adding that the original plan to keep local taxi services away from the temples still stands. “There are so many tuk-tuks who want to park and drop tourists at the stairs of Angkor. They have caused many prob­lems,” he said.

A private Chinese company operating 40 electric cars is the only firm now with exclusive rights to take tourists around the park. Chea Saroeun, a tuk-tuk driver contacted in Siem Reap Wed­nesday, said that “everything was back to normal.” But he blasted au­thorities for trying to corral drivers in the car park while allowing a private firm a monopoly.

Moeung Sonn, managing director of Eurasie Travel, said it was “non­sense” to ask ordinary drivers in Siem Reap to pay parking fees. “The government should be proud of Khmer people who can earn mo­ney from the heritage of our ancestors by providing services. Why should they allow an electric car com­pany to come and make mo­ney?”

Ho Vandy, president of the Cam­bo­dian Association of Travel Agents, said his organization is seeking to delay the entrance restrictions. “We can’t find money to pay for parking for each hour,” he said. “The Apsara [Au­thority] must consider disallowing a foreign, private firm from capturing the business of local people.”

Soeung Kong, Apsara’s deputy di­rector general, said a solution to the problem will be announced Friday and that it would likely favor local taxi drivers.

“I think we would ac­cept their request,” he said.



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