Temples at Angkor are in danger of being damaged by the large number of overloaded trucks driving through Angkor Archeological Park from Banteay Srei district to Siem Reap town, officials said this week.
According to Apsara Authority, the government agency managing the park, the trucks, which may carry as much as 50 tons, create vibrations as they drive past the temples.
“We are very concerned that the vibrations will cause erosion in the [millennium-old] standstones, which will eventually fall apart,” Deputy Director General Soeung Kong said.
Those trucks carry sand and stones during the day, and possibly timber at night, he said. “This is an old issue, but it only stops when measures are taken,” he added.
Sok Sun Lin, director of the Siem Reap provincial public works department, said that his department is powerless to stop the traffic because of the lack of cooperation from the police and military police.
The few times his department seized trucks, he said, “we got only hatred.” Powerful officials intervened to have the trucks released, he added.
“Apsara complains every day, and the road sinks more and more every day,” Sok Sun Lin said.
Deputy Governor Cheang Lim Sreang said that provincial authorities have issued numerous directives for the police and military police to intervene, “but cooperation has not been so good.”
Lach Savin, Siem Reap provincial deputy police chief, denied on Wednesday that there is a lack of cooperation, saying he had received no request for intervention.
Morm Samon, Siem Reap provincial military police commander, said his forces could not act without a request. Otherwise, they may be accused of setting up illegal checkpoints if they try to stop trucks, he said.
Overloaded trucks may be fined $25 per ton and companies could lose their licenses for repeat offenses, Cheang Lim Sreang said.