Gov’t To Seize Angkor Temple Playing Cards

The Ministry of Culture has ordered the confiscation of playing cards displaying the images of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon temples, officials said Monday.

Chuch Phoeurn, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, said his ministry has asked Siem Reap provincial authorities to confiscate the illegal playing cards. He added that businessmen had requested permission to use the images on the cards, but had been denied.

“The ministry did not give permission because [cards] are used for gambling and are thrown on the ground where people step on them. So they are illegal,” he said.

The Commerce Ministry is generally in charge of approving company logos but when Cambodia’s national symbols and landmarks are involved, the Ministry of Culture is consulted, he added.

Siem Reap Provincial Governor Sou Phirin said he has ordered po-lice to confiscate the playing cards and other products illegally bearing images of Angkorian temples.

“I’ve ordered the confiscation,” he said.

Siem Reap deputy provincial police chief Tan Chay, who is also chief of the province’s heritage police, said that temple images have also been used on the back of tuk-tuks, as well as the playing cards.

“We just got the [confiscation] order. We are going to take action tomorrow,” he added.

Though the Culture Ministry has rejected temples being displayed on playing cards, Chuch Phoeurn said the ban does not extend to other vices: the Angkor temples are also displayed on beer cans and cigarette packets.

“They have permission. They use the image on their logo with pride,” Chuch Phoeurn said, repeating the Angkor Beer slogan: “My country, my beer.”

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