Resort Buildings Still on Angkor Wat Baray

Conservation officials say a karaoke resort built by an Army general on the Angkor Wat complex’s Western Baray has been shut down. But five structures remained standing as of Tuesday.

Ung Vorn, director of the Angkor conservation unit in Siem Reap province, said Monday that it was his understanding that generators and sound equipment  already had been removed, although he had not been to the site himself.

“When local authorities went to close it down, it looked like it was already closed,” he said.

A visit to the site Tuesday revealed that a generator, speakers and colored lights are no longer there.

But five buildings remain. One is a bamboo-roofed shelter for cars. There’s also a tin shed, two cement buildings and a small thatched structure where food items were for sale. The only people on the site were sitting under it.

“This is an ancient cultural area,” Ung Vorn said. “We shouldn’t have such an ugly thing in a [World] Heritage area. If we do have it in this area, it’s like a war of moralities.”

Chea Morn, the RCAF commander of Region 4 who was building the resort, would not confirm that the resort was being dismantled.

“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” he said when contacted Monday.

“I have been in Phnom Penh, so I am not aware of this.”

Ung Ouen, vice governor of Siem Reap province, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Chea Morn spoke with Apsara Authority, and he agreed to shut down the resort.

But Ang Choulean, director of culture and monuments for Apsara Authority, said there had been “no direct contact” with the general.

Chea Morn has said he was building the resort so his soldiers had a place to relax. There was a nightclub on the same site in the 1960s.

Development is banned near the temples, as part of Cambo­dia’s agreement with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cul­tural Organization to protect the country’s only World Heritage Site.

Siem Reap is hosting a cultural tourism conference co-sponsored by the World Tourism Organ­ization. Prime Minister Hun Sen addressed the conference Mon­day and said the recent rebel incursion in Phnom Penh should not be a cause of concern for tourists considering a trip to Angkor Wat.

Beginning Thursday, the Int­ernational Coordinating Com­mittee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor will hold an annual technical meeting.



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