The Apsara Authority will file a complaint to Siem Reap Provincial Court this week against hundreds of squatters whose houses were constructed inside the protected Angkor Wat compound, an Apsara Authority official said.
Deputy Director General Soeung Kong said the Apsara Authority reported 100 illegally constructed concrete buildings and many more wooden houses within the complex, following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s directive in June to clear homes in the area.
“We will file complaints against the owner of those houses to remove their houses out of the Angkor compound,” Soeung Kong said Tuesday.
All concrete buildings must be removed, Soeung Kong said, citing concerns that foundations for concrete structures could destroy potential archeological sites.
But, he said, longtime residents with wooden homes may be allowed to stay.
In a June 23 directive, Hun Sen ordered the authority to clear the land, saying squatters “caused disorder” by burning forests to create parking spaces. The goal was to beautify the compound to attract tourists, and permission given by the Apsara Authority to build there was invalid, the directive stated.
It also said restaurants in the compound would become state property.
Once the land is cleared, it will be turned into a park, where the Apsara Authority will plant trees, Soeung Kong said.
“When the trees grow, it will offer more beauty to Angkor Wat,” he said.
Angkor Conservation Bureau Chief Keo Saravuth said some squatters moved in before a 1993 Royal Decree declared it protected land.
Hundreds may go homeless if the government does not relocate them, he said. “I think the government should make it a policy to help people who are asked to remove their houses.”
Siem Reap Deputy Governor Suy San said authorities had no plans to relocate the squatters.