CAMBODIA: Two American sisters are the latest tourists to get into trouble with the Cambodian authorities for getting naked in the country’s famed Angkor Wat temple. Lindsey Kate Adams, 22, and Leslie Jan Adams, 20, from Prescott, Arizona, were caught last week at the temple with their pants down, literally, according to a statement from the authority that protects the site. “Angkor Wat is considered sacred ground – ground on which the sisters lowered their pants to their knees and took pictures of their buttocks,” papers from the court said.
“It’s an offense to the culture of others, regardless of religion,” Kerya Chau Sun, spokeswoman for the site’s conservation authority, told CNN. “As a Cambodian, it’s hurtful to my belief, and especially to the poor Cambodians saving up money to be able to come across the country to pray at Angkor.” The sisters were charged with trafficking pornography and exposing sexual body parts, according to The Phnom Penh Post. “The two tourists admitted that they really made a mistake by taking nude photos,” read a statement from the conservation authority, called Apsara.
They were fined US$250, banned from entering the country for the next 4 years, and then deported to Thailand. “Angkor Wat is a sacred site for all Cambodians and practicing Buddhists, worldwide. It is not an amusement park. Tourists should dress modestly in accordance with Cambodian customs and treat the sites respectfully. Taking off clothes and running around the sacred place naked is not allowed. We may also request assistance from embassies to inform their citizens who visit Angkor on the sanctity of the site,” the government said.
Three French tourists were deported earlier this month for allegedly posing for nude pictures in another temple in Cambodia. Meanwhile, a group of photos featuring a topless dancer dancing in Angkor Wat surfaced on Facebook last month. It came at the same time a group of Asian women posing nude at ancient Cambodian temples went viral online. Authorities are baffled as to the tourists’ motivation. “Frankly, we don’t understand why they’re doing this,” Chau Sun, a spokesman for the government, added. “Maybe the girls copied the others, but whatever it is, it’s disrespectful.” The government body is now looking into ways to deter tourists from going naked.
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