Immigration police rounded up 51 ethnic Vietnamese in the capital yesterday, with seven found without proper documents set to be deported.
Uk Hai Sela, head of investigations at the immigration department, said immigration police, National Police and court officials detained the 35 men and 16 women and children in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district.
The seven undocumented Vietnamese were to be deported home next week, Hai Sela said. The remaining 44 were released pending an inter-ministerial examination of their family books, resident books and identification to uncover any potential forgeries. Also uncovered in the raid were 51 small packets of drugs, a 54-calibre pistol and 21 bullets, Hai Sela added.
At the start of the month, English-language media outlet Viet Nam News claimed that the Vietnamese Embassy had successfully called for the release of 84 Vietnamese people arrested in an immigration raid “as most of them are Vietnamese Cambodians residing legally in the country”. Hai Sela later denied the report, saying all were deported on July 4.
Since the start of the year, 2,300 undocumented foreigners have been arrested, 1,900 of whom were Vietnamese nationals, according to Hai Sela.
Political analyst Ou Virak said the Interior Ministry’s vigilance against forged identity documents was a good thing, but “they can do it systematically, without resorting to racial profiling”.
Vietnamese Embassy officials did not reply to requests for comment yesterday.