Officials Seek Revenue Share for Angkor Police

Siem Reap provincial authorities want the government to share the revenue it makes on tourism at Angkor Wat to help support provincial police officers, who have been demanding mon­ey from businesses, officials said Monday.

Suy Sann, second deputy governor of Siem Reap, said provincial police have been collecting money from souvenir stands at the complex since the Apsara Authority, which oversees the temples, took over revenue collection in April 1999 in partnership with the Sokimex company.

Under a plan adopted in Sep­tember 2000, the government and Sokimex split the money evenly when revenues are $3 million or less. The government takes 70 percent when revenues exceed $3 million.

“When the Ministry of Tour­ism was in charge of Angkor Wat, provincial police, who help pro­tect Angkor, had received some profit, but since the Apsara Authority took over, they have received no money,” Suy Sann said.

He said the province should be given 8 percent to 9 percent of the revenues.

Suy Sann said that he has re­ceived complaints from souvenir vendors who claim that provincial police have been taking money from them.

Nguon Bophal, Siem Reap police chief, said individual officers might be collecting money from vendors, but that their actions are not endorsed by pro­vincial authorities.

Tes Chaya, a Siem Reap tour guide, said provincial police have been collecting $20 to $30 a month from many souvenir shops.

Phav Proeun, another Siem Reap tour guide, said police have been collecting money from hotels, mo­tels and guest houses.

He said policemen recently told the owners of about 200 guest houses they must pay $5 a month, beginning in Jan­uary. Military police also de­mand­ed $2 a month from guest houses, Phav Proeun said.

“We don’t mind paying legal taxes to the state, but we are sick of having to pay provincial policemen. They have jobs and they make a salary,” he said.

Bun Narith, deputy general director of Apsara Authority, said that only the government has the power to order them to share profits with police and that the authority has no say in the matter.

According to Bun Narith, the new policy of the government is to use about 60 percent of the profits made from the Angkor complex to protect, repair, and clean the temples, which was not always done in the past.

The remaining revenue is used for tour­ism development, Bun Na­rith said.

But Sok Kong,  president of Sokimex and the Phnom Penh Chamber of Com­merce, said he agreed the Ap­sara Authority should give money to provincial police who help protect the Ang­kor complex.

Sok Kong said the Sokha Hotel, a division of Sokimex, hired 10 provincial policemen to protect the complex, paying them from $100 to $300 a month to try to discourage them from de­manding money from souvenir vendors.

The number of tourists visiting Siem Reap and the Angkor Com­plex doubled in the past year, the Ministry of Tourism has said.

 

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