A senior Interior Ministry official has urged police to take tough action against Chinese nationals committing crimes in the Kingdom.
Speaking during a meeting with police officials yesterday, General Sok Phal, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, said that immigration police had to crack down on illegal activities committed by Chinese nationals in Preah Sihanouk province.
“All immigration police must pay attention to criminal Chinese in Preah Sihanouk. We also have to protect those not committing crimes,” he said.
Gen Phal said that last year there were 100,000 Chinese businesspeople in Cambodia, which ballooned to 210,000 this year.
“At the end of this year’s semester, Chinese have increased to about 210,000 based on statistics of them coming to have their visas extended and about 78,000 Chinese nationals are living in Preah Sihanouk province,” he said.
“We can deport them through three gates,” Gen Phal added, referring to Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport and Sihanoukville International airport.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng assigned four main units under the ministry to set up a support team to restore security in Preah Sihanouk, plagued by a spike in crime following an influx of Chinese nationals.
The four units include the General Department of Administration, the National Police, General Department of Immigration, and legal experts. The team is tasked with providing additional support to provincial authorities in suppressing crimes.
General Kirth Chantharith, newly-appointed director-general of the General Department of Immigration, said that immigration law is being enforced strictly.
“The government has a policy to attract tourists and investors to generate the national income and provide jobs to the people. So our duty, especially immigration issue we will make great efforts to control it according to the laws,” Gen Chantharith said.
The General Department of Immigration said that it has deported 6,000 foreign nationals from 26 different countries so far this year. Some of the foreign nationals were illegally residing in Cambodia and others had committed crimes.
Since 2014, Cambodia has deported about 15,000 foreign nationals from 91 different countries.
Since 2011 until October last year, 1,133 Chinese nationals have been deported to China for offences related to cybercrime alone.
Gen Phal said that the General Immigration Department has revoked 80 percent of improper documents held by Vietnamese.
“We have revoked 79.88 percent of irregular documents, including passports,” Gen Phal said, noting that foreigners holding improper documents were mostly Vietnamese.
San Chey, executive director of Affiliation Network for Social Accountability, said that any foreigners who committed crimes had to be arrested, deported and prevented from returning to Cambodia.
“I think it is not too late to do it. The government has to ensure that Chinese committing illegal activities have to be arrested and prosecuted according to laws and be deported to their country by not allowing them to return to Cambodia,” Mr Chey said.