The Apsara Authority is preparing to take legal action against three French tourists caught taking naked photographs on Thursday at the Banteay Kdei monument inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, according to a video posted to the authority’s Facebook page Friday night.
Siem Reap provincial tourism police and provincial heritage police interrupted and arrested the French holidaymakers on Wednesday morning as the trio stripped off for each other’s cameras on the grounds of the iconic monument.
The video narrator says that the three men—identified on their passports as Rodolphe Fourgeot, 19; Alexandre Vix, 19; and Vincent Bocquet, 20—confessed “that they did wrong.”
“We are really sorry because we didn’t know it, we didn’t realize it before, we made a lot of Cambodian…friends and then we are sorry that today happened,” Mr. Fourgeot says in the video.
Suong Seng Kim, identified as a representative for the Siem Reap tourism police, says in the video that the men broke the law.
“The case of the three young foreigners taking naked photographs at Banteay Kdei temple…is against Article 50 of the tourism law,” he said, adding that the article covers the dissemination of pornographic photographs or videos and “causing disorder in society.”
According to the video, the Apsara Authority is pursuing the case.
“Currently the Apsara Authority is compiling the report to the tourism police unit in Siem Reap province in order to take legal action against the three,” the narrator says.
The episode marks the second time in a week that visitors to Angkor have come under fire for disrobing for photographs. The Apsara Authority, which manages the archaeological site, reacted angrily last weekend when photographs were posted online showing naked women posing at the centuries-old temples.
Apsara Authority spokeswoman Chau Sun Kerya said on Friday that tour companies and private guides advise their customers that Cambodia’s temples are important cultural and religious sites and require appropriate, respectful dress and behavior.
But independent travelers—such as the three French nationals—are less predictable, she said, adding that the media attention the incident has drawn may help prevent repeat performances.
“We would obviously prefer not to have this type of publicity but it has happened, so hopefully it will serve as a warning that this sort of disrespectful behavior is not acceptable to Cambodian people,” she said.
The French Embassy in Phnom Penh said on Friday that it would provide consular assistance to the men.
“We have been informed of the arrest and are in touch with local authorities regarding this case,” Nicholas Baudouin, spokesman for the French Embassy, wrote in an email. “We will be providing consular assistance as we normally do for all French citizens abroad.”
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