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Foreign Minister Denounces Vietnamese Writing on Angkor Wat Phone Card

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Tuesday condemned Vietnamese phone card companies profiting from the image of Angkor Wat, a revered symbol for many Cambodians.

In a meeting with a Vietnamese delegation this week, Hor Namhong called phone cards with the image of the temples overlaid with Vietnamese writing a "serious offense.

"This is a national issue," he said.

He has asked the Cambodian embassies in Vietnam and France to look into the card companies and has asked Vietnamese authorities to stop the practice, Hor Namhong said.

Cambodia Independent Teachers Association President Rong Chhun said he had seen the cards in question on a recent trip to Europe and had written the foreign minister about them.

He was pleased Hor Namhong had taken up the issue, he said.

Cambodian students rioted in 2003 after rumors circulated among them that a Thai actress had claimed Angkor Wat should be returned to Thailand. The rumor was never confirmed, but the all-night rioting that ensued left the Thai Embassy and several Thai businesses in Phnom Penh looted and torched.