Three French tourists that pleaded guilty to taking naked pictures at the Angkor Wat Temple are to be deported, AFP has reported.
The three young men in their 20s were arrested on Thursday and charged with public exposure and making pornography. The trio was given a six month suspended prison sentence, fined $750, and have been banned from entering Cambodia for four years.
Speaking to AFP, prosecutor Koeut Sovannareth said, “They confessed to making a mistake and asked the Cambodian people to forgive them for their actions.” He also confirmed, “They will be deported from Cambodia very soon.”
The behavior of the men was widely condemned by local officials who emphasized that their actions were deeply offensive because Angkor Wat is not just a temple complex but a sacred religious site to the Cambodian people. A spokeswoman for the Apsara Authority, the agency which manages the Angkor Wat site said, “The temple is a worship site and their behavior is inappropriate. They were nude.”
Kart Buntham, a senior heritage police officer added, “Their activities affect our culture. Nobody should take nude pictures at ancient temples.” The combined charges carried a maximum sentence of 18 months imprisonment.
The arrest and subsequent sentencing comes only days after photographs of nude Japanese tourists emerged online, sparking outrage in the small Southeast Asian country.
The ninth century Angkor Wat Temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction.
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