The Ministry of Interior’s top brass on Monday said the government confiscated 30,000 “illegitimate administrative documents” belonging to foreigners from 10 countries throughout last year, with Vietnamese making up 90 per cent of the figure.
Kirth Chantharith, the ministry’s General Immigration Department director-general, said the seized documents included family books, residence books, identity cards, birth certificates and passports.
The statement was made during a meeting held at the Interior Ministry and chaired by Secretary of State Sok Phal aimed at addressing issues surrounding immigration.
Chanthartith said the government will continue to seize fake or illegitimate documents belonging to immigrants in a crackdown set to last for the next six months.
“There were about 3,000 people deported last year. If we count from 2014, the number stands at about 15,000 citizens from many countries,” he said.
Most of last year’s deportees, Chantharith added, were Vietnamese, Chinese and Nigerians.
“The majority of them [Vietnamese, Chinese and Nigerians] were involved in Voice over Internet Protocol-related crimes. But other foreigners from 40 other nationalities were also expelled from Cambodia,” he said.
Adhoc senior human rights investigator Soeung Sen Karuna suspected there is collusion amongst government officials in issuing national documents to foreign nationals who do not meet the requirements and procedures stipulated under the Kingdom’s Law on Nationality.
He urged tough measures against violators on both sides, saying: “Forging national documents is a crime. If we do not take prohibitive measures, more problems will arise. Those issuing the documents should also be held accountable. This sort of problem has occurred far too often and it has become the new normal.”
In August 2017, the government also issued a directive ordering the elimination and withdrawal of illegitimate national administrative documents held by foreigners.