The government agency Apsara Authority has unofficially taken over management of the endangered Koh Ker temples in Preah Vihear province, the authority’s Deputy Director General Soeung Kong said Thursday.
“Apsara Authority is taking part in protecting and managing Koh Ker, but it is not yet official,” he said.
The 10th century site is currently run jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Kham Someth company, which has built an access road to the site.
“We have an agreement to sell the tickets…since last year,” said Kheng Someth, the company president.
Tickets are $10 per person, and 45 percent of the sales go to the Finance Ministry, he said. Apsara’s official involvement should not affect this deal, Kheng Someth said, adding the government agency has so far done little to protect the site.
“Six months ago, some Apsara people put guard booths over there, but we have never seen them again,” he said.
Regarding Preah Vihear temple, Soeung Kong said that once the temple is listed as a World Heritage site, Apsara would likely manage it as it is managing the Angkor temples, government permitting. Application for the temple’s inclusion on the prestigious World Heritage list has yet to be submitted.