Sandals With Angkor Wat Image Investigated

The government is investigating the production of flip-flops bearing images of Angkor Wat that were found on sale at a market in Viet­nam’s Tay Ninh province, Informa­tion Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Tuesday. Vietnamese authorities have arrested a suspect caught selling the sandals, but it is still uncertain who is responsible for producing them, Khieu Kanharith said.

“The shoes were exported from Cambodia to Vietnam,” said Khieu Kanharith, who likened the selling of the sandals depicting the country’s most sacred symbol to false allegations made about a Thai actress that sparked the anti-Thai riots in 2003.

“This may cause a dispute be­tween Cambodia and Vietnam,” Khieu Kanharith said, adding that he suspected whoever produced the sandals was attempting to create friction between the two countries.

Svay Rieng provincial Governor Chieng Am said that the flip-flops had been available at markets in his province before the government issued an order on Saturday banning them.

“We have already asked Vietnam to investigate where they were produced,” Chieng Am said, adding that the flip-flops were not made in his province.

Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy, said the sandals did not come from Vietnam before declining to comment further.

SRP members and the Human Rights Party condemned the flip-flops Tuesday.

“I have to wonder why the Ang­kor Wat picture is made on the shoes to be stepped on,” SRP Presi­dent Sam Rainsy said.

This is not the first time that controversy has arisen over the use of Angkor Wat images on commercial products.

In September the Ministry of Cul­ture ordered the confiscation of playing cards displaying the images of Angkor Wat. The ministry said at the time that although it rejected temples being displayed on playing cards, the ban did not extend to other items such as beer cans and cigarette packages.


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