02 Jul 2014
Foreign tourists who visit the capital city’s Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum will pay US$3, effective 1 August, ending decades of so called voluntary donations.
Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona made the announcement on the new fee last week.
“Foreigners age 18 and up must pay US$3 per person from 1 August,” he said.
However, foreign researchers, students and foreign delegations will be exempt from the fee, along with Cambodian nationals.
The report also referred to a previously unannounced 23 April ruling by the Ministry of Economy and Finance that ended free admission for foreigners.
The Culture Ministry’s Tuol Sleng museum management director, Kong Vireak, argued that the US$2 fee referred to in that order was never fully sanctioned.
“Previously, there’s been no official ticket fees; it’s was described as a voluntary contribution…such contributions are really difficult to manage, especially because tour agencies that prepare tourist packages face difficulties in setting package prices for tourists and including donations.”
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a former high school, which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” or “Strychnine Hill”.
Tuol Sleng was one of at least 150 execution centres in the country, and as many as 20,000 prisoners were murdered by Khmer Rouge soldiers and officials.
The building now serves as a museum and a memorial. Photos of some of the victims as well as paintings by a survivor hang on the walls.