At least five foreign tourists have been arrested and deported so far from Cambodia this year for clicking nude photos at sacred sites in the country. The arrested tourists reportedly stripped down at Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that drew 2 million visitors last year.
The temples are places for Buddhist worship and a symbol of Khmer heritage, making them sacred for the Cambodians, who have been deeply upset by such incidents, The Associated Press (AP), reported. Earlier this month, guards at Angkor Wat arrested two American sisters after they were caught clicking semi-nude pictures of each other. The sisters were identified as Lindsey Adams, 22, and Leslie Adams, 20 from Prescott, Arizona, and were given a six-month suspended sentence, along with a fine of 1 million riel ($250) for the act. They were both deported and were banned from the country for four years.
"Angkor Wat is the most famous sacred ... temple in Cambodia, where everyone -- not only tourists but also Cambodians themselves -- has to pay respect," Rattanak Te, an administrative assistant, living in Phnom Penh, said, according to AP, adding: "It definitely upsets me and all Cambodians, because outsiders will think we -- Cambodian people -- are careless and do not take good care of this World Heritage (site) by allowing these tourists to do such an unacceptable act."
In January, three French men in their 20s were deported after they were caught clicking nude pictures of themselves. Later in the same month, three tourists were also caught riding a motorbike naked near Phnom Penh. The incidents have triggered authorities to put up signs at temples and ticketing booths asking visitors to behave respectfully.
"As a Cambodian, I am hurt ... I think especially to the poor Cambodians saving to be able to come across the country to pray at Angkor," Kerya Chau Sun, spokeswoman for the Apsara Authority, which manages the temple complex in Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia, said, according to AP, adding: "They don't understand why people could behave like that."