PM Orders Eviction of Angkor Wat Squatters

Prime Minister Hun Sen or­dered the Apsara Authority to clear all houses located in the Angkor Wat compound, effectively evicting hundreds of people, in a national directive made public Wednesday.

Hun Sen said the squatters had “caused disorder” by burning forest to create parking spaces and building concrete structures to sell souvenir and gasoline—all without the Apsara Authority’s permission.

“These activities will undermine the rule of law and the country’s development goals if they are not prevented,” he wrote, citing the need to beautify the compound in order to attract tourists.

Hun Sen also declared invalid any permission given by Apsara Authority to build, and said all buil­dings must be removed within 45 days of the directive, dated June 23.

“For those who encroached on the land and constructed pagodas, food stores, and parking lots, the Authority must register their name and file a complaint to the court to prevent further anarchic activity,” the directive said. Rest­aurants within the compound will be­come state property, it said.

Apsara Authority Deputy Di­rector Soeung Kong said Thurs­day more than 40 houses and restaurants will be demolished. Dozens more restaurants will be confiscated.

He said the Authority is preparing to register the names of those to be evicted and inform them to move their homes, adding that the squatters had moved onto park grounds without permission.

One hundred other families in September 2003 after Hun Sen issued a similar order.

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