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Cambodia tells Amazon to stop toilet seat cover sales

Jane Mcintosh
January 18, 2019

The online retail giant Amazon has come under fire from Cambodia for selling toilet seat covers decorated with images of its flag and Angkor Temples. It is a question of national reputation, authorities maintain.

The temple of Angkor in Cambodia
Image: S. Bandopadhyay

Cambodia's ambassador in the US wrote to the head of Amazon saying the embassy had learned with "shock and dismay" that images of the Angkor Temples had been used on "ignominious products, among them toilet seat cover, bath area rug, contour mat, toilet seat lid, shower curtains, kitchen carpet" being sold on the site.

Moreover, Ambassador Chum Sounry decried the "outrageous way to use the Flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia as design of bathroom mat set."

"Dissemination of these ignominious products must be stopped quickly" Chum Sounry told Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO.

Ta Phrom temple at Angkor Wat
Ta Phrom temple at Angkor WatImage: picture-alliance/Global Travel Images

World Heritage

The Angkor Temples have been on the World Heritage List since 1992 and have benefited from UNESCO's Reinforced International Protection since 2017. They include the Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world, which has become a symbol of Cambodia. It appears on the national flag and is one of the Asian nation's prime attractions for visitors, with 2 million foreign tourists going to the site in 2013.

Read more: Cambodia deports Westerners charged with 'dirty dancing'

The ambassador's complaint was backed on Facebook, and Cambodian Culture and Fine Arts Minister Pheoung Sackona said that her office would also send a letter to Amazon. She encouraged citizens to tell the government about other products which "insult Cambodian culture."

Amazon has not yet made a comment. It also sells toilet seat covers showing German and US flags on the site.

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