Officials at the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration are questioning 28 Chinese nationals who were detained on Wednesday in Phnom Penh on suspicion of entering the country to work illegally. The authorities, however, are unsure when they can be deported to China.
Ministry of Interior Investigations Department director Uk Hai Seila told The Post on Thursday that expert officials are preparing a report on the case.
He said some of the suspects have passports but no work permits, while some have no documentation at all. “Some people brought passports to show the police, and we are checking those documents.
“If they came here legally, we’ll let them stay. But if they don’t have work permits, the authorities will take action and ensure they fulfil all required working conditions according to our laws,” Hai Seila said.
He said the authorities would inform the Chinese embassy about those with no documentation and ask them to be deported to China.
A report issued by the General Department of Immigration on Wednesday said an operation was conducted with the assistance of Phnom Penh municipal deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary to inspect a construction site on Street 100 in Daun Penh district’s Wat Phnom commune.
The report said police found 40 people working there, five of them women. Twenty-eight were Chinese nationals, and of the number, the report said 19 had passports but no work permits, while nine others did not have a passport.
The nine people without passports were sent to the General Department of Immigration. The authorities also confiscated the 19 passports of those without work permits.
Daun Penh district police chief Tieng Chansa on Thursday said his police task force was working with the General Department of Immigration and Phnom Penh municipal police to inspect the construction site and the Chinese nationals’ accommodation.
He said he would send additional reports to the General Department of Immigration.
“My task force collaborated with another expert task force. Regarding the report, you can ask the General Department of Immigration because they are the experts on this issue,” Chansa said.
In December last year, the General Department of Immigration deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were women, to China for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam at four different locations in Takeo province’s Tram Kak and Bati districts.