Angkor drone rules need to be tightened

The Apsara Authority has created a working group to strengthen a ban on using drones around the Angkor area in Siem Reap province.

The authority recently held a meeting over the issue because some people were flouting the ban, which was imposed in 2016.

It said that during the first three months of this year, 158 drones flew around the Angkor area, compared to 58 in all of 2017.

In the last two years, many people used drones in the area to take pictures and record video despite the authority’s efforts to stop them.

Sok Sangva, authority deputy director-general, said that the increase in drones in the Angkor area was a risk to the temples. Drones also caused disruptions and could affect the safety of visitors.

“The drone is modern technology that can also make it easier for terrorists to damage the World Heritage Site,” he said.

On November 2016, the authority, which oversees the Angkor Archaeological Park, banned camera-equipped drones in the park in the name of public safety and historic preservation.

The authority said permission to use drones will be considered if applications are made in advance, noting that police will get involved in cases of unauthorised use.

Apsara Authority officials hold a meeting. Fresh News
Lay Bunthon, director of the tourist police department, said the authority is strengthening the ban for reasons of safety for tourists and the temple.

“If they want to use drones to film, they must first seek permission from the authority,” he said.

The Apsara Authority and other institutions will spread information about the ban in the Angkor area with the use of billboards, banners, and on tourism websites.

Phnom Penh City Hall banned flying drones without a permit two years ago after a German tourist flew his drone over the Royal Palace and was spotted by Queen Mother Norodom Monineath as she performed her daily exercise routine.

On February 2018, police in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district arrested a French man for flying a drone over the house of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Police said that Pierre Michel Breckler was arrested for using a drone camera to film prohibited areas without permission.

Source: KhmerTimes