Palace Seeks Removal of King Father Statue

The Royal Cabinet on Tuesday called for a statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk to be removed from the facade of a building near the Royal Palace that has flouted height restrictions.

The owners of the building on Street 19z deliberately constructed the building 10 meters taller than the 24.5 meters allowed by its contract with the municipal land management department, and have ignored orders to shorten the edifice. More recently, they topped it with a stone statue of a smiling and waving King Father.

“The construction of the King statue on top of the building is totally illegal, because nobody can build a statue of the King without asking permission from the Royal Palace,” said Oum Daravuth, adviser to the secretariat of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

“We need to remove this statue because this construction was done without permission,” he added.

Mr. Daravuth said King Norodom Sihamoni’s Royal Cabinet would consult with the government’s Royal Palace Ministry about what steps to take against the building’s owners.

One of the owners, Sin Kim Heng, defended the placement of the statue as his way of honoring the late King Father, who died in late 2012.

“This was my good intention to construct the statue on the top of my building, because I love the King Father,” said Mr. Kim Heng. “But I will remove it if the authorities require me to do it.”

Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said City Hall would take action to remove the statue only after receiving a formal request from the Royal Palace.

The building belonging to Mr. Kim Heng and his wife, which is slated to become a hotel, was initially ordered demolished in October. Mr. Kim Heng said at the time that he had decided to exceed his contracted height limit after Prime Minister Hun Sen gave a speech lifting restrictions on the height of buildings around the palace.

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