Thirteen African men, mainly Nigerian nationals, were detained by police Tuesday in two Phnom Penh districts on suspicion of not having valid passports or visas, deputy municipal police chief Hy Pru said.
Four Nigerian nationals were released after they provided passports with valid visas but nine others, eight Nigerians and a Ghanaian national, have not presented passports with valid visas yet and are currently being detained at the capital’s foreign police department awaiting deportation, he said.
“All of the nine foreigners illegally entered Cambodia through different checkpoints from our neighboring countries by joining a group of football players, a group of tourists or a group of garment purchasers,” Mr Pru said yesterday by telephone.
Eight people were detained by police in Daun Penh district and five were detained in Dangkao district, Mom Sitha, chief of the municipal foreign police department, said yesterday by telephone.
Mr Sith said the arrests were aimed at discovering people who had entered Cambodia illegally as there have been reports that some of the detainees had created problems with their neighbors in Phnom Penh, including members of the African community.
Mr Sitha said that the foreigner police force are specifically checking documents of African nationals in select districts. However, he added that this is not an act of racism because many new arrivals to the country are from Nigeria and various other African countries.
“We are not discriminating against black-skinned foreigners, but it is our job to arrest new arrivals who don’t have proper documents,” he said.