Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal Chinese immigration seen as 'serious threat'



Illegal Chinese immigration seen as 'serious threat'

Illegal Chinese immigration seen as 'serious threat'

IN THE wake of two arrests within the past two weeks of 239 illegal Chinese immigrants,

Police General Skadavy M Ly Roun warns that illegal Chinese immigration poses "a

serious economic, security and political threat" to Cambodia.

A raid on August 19 of a "safe house" in Toul Kork District of Phnom Penh,

which netted 222 illegal Chinese immigrants, was followed by a similar bust on August

31 in Russeykeo District in which an additional 17 Chinese were arrested. Four of

those Chinese arrested on August 19 subsequently escaped custody on August 31.

"After they were arrested, they asked us if they could continue from Cambodia

on to the US, Finland and Germany," said So Vandy of the 222 illegal Chinese

immigrants arrested on August 19. "They told us that they had paid $1500 to

get to Cambodia from China.

Vandy told the Post that he believed the Chinese had entered Cambodia from Vietnam.

"They don't enter at regular border crossings," Vandy said.

"They come in where there are no officials, crossing lakes or through forests

and rice fields."

According to Roun, Cambodia has been a conduit for organized groups of people-smugglers

known as "snakeheads" since the early nineties.

"Illegal Chinese immigrants enter Cambodia every day," Roun told the Post.

"As many as one million Chinese have passed through Cambodia since the early

nineties."

Post inquiries around the vicinity of the Toul Kork villa that sheltered the 222

Chinese arrested on August 19 support Roun's assertions of the duration of the problem

of illegal Chinese immigrants.

Nearby shopkeepers confirmed that the house had been well-known for sheltering illegal

Chinese immigrants for years.

Roun says that the extent of the problem of illegal Chinese immigration through Cambodia

far exceeds the capacity of the police and the Cambodian government to control it.

"The big problem is not about arresting [Chinese illegal immigrants]: we can

arrest them anytime," Roun said. "The big problem is who is responsible

for them after they're arrested... When they're detained we have to feed them. Also,

who will pay for their ticket back to China?"

Wu Jingshen, First Secretary of the PRC Embassy in Phnom Penh, described Roun's claims

of the numbers of Chinese illegal immigrants who have entered Cambodia in recent

years as "greatly exaggerated".

According to Wu, the key to solving the problem of illegal Chinese immigration is

identification and arrest of the "snakeheads" who run the trade.

"The Chinese immigrants pay a lot of money to the snakeheads, so the snakeheads

have a lot of money," Wu told the Post, adding that the sale of the villa used

by the snakehead involved in the case of the 225 Chinese arrested last week could

easily pay for plane tickets back to China for the entire group.

However, Roun stresses that illegal Chinese immigrants pose more than just a financial

burden.

"These people are dangerous to Cambodia," Roun said. "They kill and

kidnap people in the local Chinese community and some of them want to stay and find

jobs here."

In an oblique reference to the long-rumored widespread sale of Cambodian passports

to foreign nationals, Roun warns that by continuing to develop a reputation as a

transit center for illegal Chinese immigration, Cambodia risks limiting the travel

opportunities for its own citizens in the future.

"Right now it's not a problem for Cambodians to travel abroad, but if we continue

to have this problem [with illegal Chinese immigration], in future international

travel for Cambodians might become difficult."

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the