Police Station To Be Built Within Angkor Park

The government has granted permission for a new Siem Reap provincial police headquarters to be built inside the Angkor complex, a UN world heritage protected area, Apsara Authority Direc-tor-General Bun Narith said Tues­day.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had en­couraged the Apsara Authority, the government organization managing the Angkor Archeological Park, to protect the site of the new police headquarters—located near the airport—from being built on.

Tamara Teneishvili, Unesco culture program specialist, said Tues­day that she was surprised permission had been granted.                                    “We just learned and we are surprised because the Royal decree legitimizing Angkor as a world he­ri­tage site prohibits construction,” on the new site, Teneishvili said.

Bun Narith said he was uncertain when the decision to locate the police base at the new site was made, but added that a letter grant­ing permission for construction was issued by the Council of Mi­nisters several months ago. Con­struction work is now under way, he said.

“We don’t understand why [permission was granted], but it de­pends on the decision of the Royal Gov­ernment of Cambodia,” Bun Na­rith said. “Maybe there is a ne­ces­sity be­cause it’s an international airport and security has to be tight,” he ad­ded.

The airport is also located inside the protected area but was built be­fore the protection zone was designated.

The government will likely de­cide to relocate the airport in the fu­ture but not anytime soon be­cause of the heavy costs in­volved in such a project, Bun Na­rith said.

The current provincial police headquarters is located on prime real estate near retired King No­ro­dom Sihanouk’s residence in the center of Siem Reap town. It is un­clear what will become of the old po­lice headquarters.

A slew of state land swap deals be­­tween private companies and government officials has come to light recently. Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay has called on the co-Ministers of Interior Sar Kheng and Prince No­rodom Sirivudh to re­veal all agreements involved in the sale or trade of police property.

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