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Vietnamese TikToker Fined over “Disrespectful” Angkor Wat Video

VIETNAM: Ho Chi Minh City TikToker Hua Quoc Anh has been fined 7.5 million VND($306 US) for posting a video with a Thai flag waving over images of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple.

HCMC authorities said that the TikToker should "seriously learn" from the incident, which they categorized as "disrespectful of the culture and national sovereignty of neighboring countries.”

The fine has drawn controversy from Human Rights advocates who say that Vietnam should value free speech over offending neighboring countries with content that is clearly ignorant.

In November 2023, Hua Quoc Anh posted a video on his TikTok account, which has 700,000 followers, featuring a girl wearing traditional Thai costume and walking around Angkor Wat. He incorporated images of the Thai flag and king, and a voiceover saying, "Hello Thailand," fueling an ongoing online battle between some Thais and Cambodians about who owns what cultural heritage.

The Angkor Wat World Heritage Conservation Authority (Apsara) said that the video had seriously affected Cambodia's culture and heritage. Cambodian authorities then had the video removed from the platform.

Deputy State Secretary of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, Prak Chandar, said Anh's video "had a negative impact on the image of Cambodian tourism" and that he could be banned from entering the country for 10 years.

According to a Facebook post from Anh, he “has too many emotions in his heart that can't be described in a few lines of text."

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