Officials from the Apsara National Authority (ANA), a state body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park, are working with the local authorities to identify and arrest a suspect who felled a rosewood tree in the Angkor resort area on May 31.
ANA officials said the offender sneaked into the area in Trapeang Ses village in Siem Reap town’s Kokchak commune at night.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on June 1 that so far there had been no leads, but authorities were determined to find the perpetrator for punishment in accordance with the law.
Kosal said the suspect cut the rosewood into 1m to 2m pieces without taking the entire tree, leaving behind a saw and shoes. The remaining wood is being stored in the Angkor Landscape Protected Area.
He said the offender used a saw because if they used a machine, villagers in the area would hear.
“We have been working with all relevant parties to ensure that the perpetrator is arrested as soon as possible,” he said, adding he did not know about the suspect’s motive
Kosal said there had been many cases in the past, with some perpetrators sent to court.
Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association president Khieu Thy expressed regret regarding the offence.
According to Thy, this is not the first such incident in the Angkor resort area. He said there have been several cases already, but the perpetrators remained at large. He suggested that those in charge of security there be held accountable as offenders could sneak in to fell tree despite their presence.
“They cannot find the perpetrators and only report the incident. Those responsible remain free without being punished,” he said.
Thy said Angkor is a popular national and international tourist destination with most visitors enjoying the natural environment, which is surrounded by large trees making it appealing for tourists.