The Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor Archeological Park, filed a complaint yesterday with Siem Reap provincial authorities over a Cambodian company using the images of Angkorian temples on playing cards, company and provincial officials confirmed.
Bun Narith, director general of the Apsara Authority, said the complaint was filed against the Visionary Angkor Enterprises Co Ltd for using photographs of the Bayon, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan temples as well as sculptures of apsara dancers on the backs of cards that were for sale in Siem Reap city markets.
Mr Narith’s reasons for the complaint were vague, stating only the company used the images in “the wrong way” and that it did not have a license from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to use the images.
However, Soeung Kong, deputy director general for the Apsara Authority, said the firm was disparaging the images of the Khmer monuments by associating them with games of chance.
“Cards are used for gambling,” he said. “The temples are part of the world heritage. They put the temples on the back of cards, it seems like they look down on the temples.”
Contact information for Visionary Angkor Enterprises was not available and officials with the Apsara Authority could not provide any information regarding the business or its staff.
Mr Narith said this is the second time the Apsara Authority has filed the same complaint against the Visionary Angkor Enterprises Co. In 2007, the group filed the complaint but stopped confiscating cards when the owner of Visionary Angkor Enterprises Co protested, saying he had permission to produce the cards.
Provincial cabinet chief Ly Samret confirmed the cabinet had received the complaint, requesting provincial authorities help prevent the selling of the cards in Siem Reap city markets. He said the cabinet would likely follow through on the complaint and confiscate the offending cards.
“We will take measures to prevent the using [of the cards] and the selling in the market,” he said.
The complaint represents the second time this week that Cambodian officials have taken offense to the use of temple images by private companies.
Earlier this week, sneakers adorned with images of Angkor Wat and the Cambodian flag caused an uproar with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who called the products insulting and distasteful. The US-based retailer selling the items removed them from their website on Thursday.