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More than 2,300 foreigners deported

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times Share:
Authorities round up illegal immigrants. KT/Mai Vireak

The government’s crackdown on illegal immigrants has resulted in more than 2,300 being deported and barred permanently from the kingdom so far this year.

Lieutenant General Uk Heisela, director of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said officials arrested and deported 2,357 illegal immigrants.

“These immigrants were of 51 different nationalities. Of this, 1,220 deportees were Vietnamese,” he said.

Lt Gen Heisela said the deportations were carried out according to the Immigration Law.

“We arrested foreign nationals who had either overstayed their visas or crossed the border illegally and put them on a permanent no-entry list, which follows the regulations of the Interior Ministry, before deporting them back to their original countries,” he explained.

In an effort to improve law enforcement, the Interior Ministry has created more than 90 local immigration offices in provinces across the country to monitor and arrest foreign nationals without proper documents.

“These local offices make it easier for our police forces to inspect or crackdown on foreign nationals,” Lt Gen Heisela said. “Our task will never end because we have to check immigrants every day.”

The Interior Ministry began its crackdown last year as part of its campaign to maintain an up-to-date national census.

At the time, immigration department director-general General Sok Phal said the ministry had finished more than 85 percent of the census and hoped to complete it soon.

They had already ascertained that more than 76,000 foreigners living in Cambodia had “irregular” documents.

“We will revoke all of their documents and review it again,” said Gen Phal, who added that many of the offenders were Vietnamese.

Last year, the government’s crackdown against offending foreigners resulted in 3,376 immigrants being deported and barred permanently from the kingdom. They were comprised of 63 nationalities but the vast majority – 2,453 – were Vietnamese.

Since April 2014, when the government established the general department of immigration, nationwide statistics show that 14,018 foreigners from 85 countries have been deported and permanently barred from entry into the kingdom.

Of them, 10,908 – or nearly 78 percent – were Vietnamese nationals.

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