Four Vietnamese women claiming to be working for a Vietnamese company attempted to obtain residency papers reserved for Cambodian citizens by bribing authorities in Ratanakkiri’s Sre Angkrang commune last week, police and an NGO said yesterday.
The news comes as the government continues a “foreigner census” partly intended to crack down on illegal workers.
“They asked our authority to collude with them to make residential documents, but it is beyond our capacity and we can’t do that,” said district police chief Phok Borin.
The women – who were registered as tourists and said they wanted to set up shop selling food in the Kingdom – were not arrested. People seeking to work in Cambodia must register with the Ministry of Interior’s immigration department.
“We’re looking for any offices who commit offences like this,” Borin said.
According to commune clerk Puch Chin, the four were not tourists but workers for Hoang Anh Andong Meas, a Vietnamese company that holds an economic land concession (ELC) in the area.
Chhay Thy, Ratanakkiri coordinator for rights group Adhoc, alleges that 100 to 200 Vietnamese workers stream into Ratanakkiri every day to work on ELCs.
“They come here not for tourism, but to work for the more than 10 Vietnamese companies in this province,” Thy said.
Thy claimed Vietnamese companies let their workers come back after warning them of upcoming inspections, adding that some even attempt to obtain identity cards to become Cambodians.
“Tourists cannot work in Cambodia,” Thy said. “It is against the law.”
“Besides destroying our natural resources, the companies are sending a flow of Vietnamese into Cambodia.”
Police chief Borin, however, said this was the case for only a small minority and that police would arrest fraudulent workers.
Since August, police have deported 34 Vietnamese people working illegally in Ratanakkiri, but none of them were working in companies, said Chea Buntheoun, deputy provincial police chief.