Drones, an Eye Sore for Apsara Authority in Angkor

Cambodia, culture, Angkor

Local Khmer newspaper the Phnom Penh Post reports that Angkor managing authority Apsara gets increasingly annoyed by drones over the ancient temples.

The Apsara Authority wants stricter legal action against those illegally flying drones at the Angkor complex in Siem Reap province. The Phnom Penh Post reported in a recent edition that the authority formed a working group to study the possible implementation of tougher legal action against individuals flouting the current provisions. The announcement was published on the website of the authority.

The working group has been assembled following a meeting on the issue last Monday between the relevant authorities.

Sok Sangvar, deputy director general of the Apsara Authority, said flying drones at the Angkor complex poses a risk to the temples and the safety of tourists in the area. The noise generated by drones is also generating disturbance and alter the tranquil atmosphere of the temples complex.

Interestingly, the issue is not new. Already back to 2016, a ban was initiated by Apsara for the use of drones over the temples. Same reasons were given then while the ban was also made to ‘improve the image of our temples, as this is very important,” indicated back to 2016 a spokesperson of Apsara. Nothing then seems to have really changed in the last two years.

Kroch Vandy, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Department, said while it is illegal for individuals to operate a drone in the complex, registered companies are permitted to fly the machines in the area no higher than 150 metres from ground level.

As of now, when the authorities find an individual flying drones illegally in the area, the machine is seized but returned later after a documentation process is completed.

A ban of drones is also implemented over the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Several incidents have taken place in the last few years over the royal residence of Cambodia King.