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Kiwi Tourist Admits to Destroying Buddha Statue in Angkor Wat.

A Kiwi tourist has admitted to destroying a Buddha statue in Cambodia. Willemijn Vermaat claimed she smashed the relic at the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex because it "didn't belong in the temple."

Vermaat, 40, is accused of destroying the statue at Bayon temple on Thursday. Aspara Authority, which manages the temple complex, said in a statement that a tuk-tuk driver filed a complaint after a female passenger did not return to pay him.

A tuk-tuk is a three-wheeler transport vehicle popular in Cambodia.

The heritage police tracked down the passenger, identified as Vermaat, inside the complex early Friday morning. They just told her to leave. However, when restoration workers found the one-metre sandstone statue broken into four pieces, police suspected that the woman was the culprit behind the vandalism since she was the only person who stayed beyond the 5:30 pm closing.

The authorities want to take her back into custody, but it's understood that she has already left the country. Although there is no direct evidence that Vermaat was the one who destroyed the statue, she has confirmed that she was the one who knocked it over.

She told APNZ that she felt "really strange," like she was being possessed to destroy the statue, when she was in the temple.

"The temple is not a Buddhist temple, it belongs to a goddess called Inanna - and this is not something I knew, this is something they told me - one of the things that she hates ... is rubbish and she feels that her temple has been used for the wrong things," she said.

The destroyed Buddha statue is either a centuries-old relic dating back from the 12th century or a replica that is just 26 years old. According to the Cambodia Daily, it dated back to the reign of Jayavarman VII, the founder of the Khmer Empire. However, according to the Phnom Penh Post, the statue was already a replica, created in 1988.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Oct 14, 2014
Words:324
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