About one week after the census of foreigners wrapped up in Ratanakkiri province, two more Vietnamese men – a father and son – were deported yesterday, officials told the Post.
Chea Bunthoeun, provincial police deputy chief in charge of immigration, said that the two men, aged 41 and 18, were discovered last week living illegally on a chicken farm in Banlung Town.
“Our forces asked them for their documents, but they did not have any, so we arrested them and deported them back to Vietnam,” he said, adding that the pair admitted to crossing illegally into the Kingdom in August.
“Including these two immigrants, 14 have been deported back [to Vietnam] this year,” Bunthoeun added.
Yesterday’s deportations bring the total number of illegal Vietnamese migrants to be sent back home since the census was completed to 12.
“The first time, we just deport them, but if they do this again, we will take measures against them. If there are a lot of [illegal] migrants here, it is not good; it will be difficult to solve,” Bunthoeun said.
The census, which is also under way in Pursat province and is soon to start in Kampong Chhnang, has been presented as a government effort to take a more precise count of foreigners living in Cambodia, but concerns have been raised that Vietnamese people could be unfairly targeted and deported.
In wider efforts to implement Cambodia’s Immigration Law, Bunthoeun said that a team from the Ministry of Interior’s Immigration Department and the Ministry of Labour would begin inspecting economic land concessions across the province next week to better establish numbers of legal and illegal workers.
Ang Chanrith, executive director of the Minority Rights Organization, said that it would be difficult to establish a realistic number of Vietnamese in Cambodia.
“The authorities are facing a difficult task, since some Vietnamese have lived in Cambodia for years and some were born here,” he said.