Deadline Extended for Illegals

Government officials say a deadline for illegal immigrants to voluntarily turn themselves in has been extended to Nov 30 because of poor response.

Not a single immigrant has come forward since the an­nounce­ment was issued, nor has the government paid any re­wards for information leading to the arrest of illegal immigrants, officials acknowledged Thursday.

“Dozens of foreigners came to file applications for Cambodian work licenses. But no illegal immigrants have come forward yet,” confirmed Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs and chairman of the newly-formed Commission for Monitoring Foreig­ners.

According to an Oct 20 statement by the commission, illegal im­migrants who did not present themselves by today would be punished for violating Cambo­dia’s Immigration Law which allows for prison sentences of up to six months. Those who presented themselves and were deemed to be illegal would face just deportation, officials said.

The commission also pro­mised rewards of 400,000 riel ($104) to people who provided information leading to the arrest of more than five illegal immigrants and 200,000 riel ($52) for information leading to the arrest of five immigrants or less.

However, Ith Sam Heng and Om Mean, the secretary-general of the commission, said that no illegal immigrants have been arrested based on information provided from the public.

Ith Sam Heng and Om Mean blamed the poor response on the large number of government holidays. But the announcement of a crackdown on illegal immigrants also hasn’t been publicized.

Despite the focus on illegal immigrants working in Cambo­dia, Roger Tan, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association, said Thursday he was unaware of the program and had heard nothing from association members about it.

A spokesman for the Vietna­mese Embassy said Thursday that emba­ssy officials also have not been informed formally of the crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The announcement of a broad crackdown on illegal immigrants followed on the heels of publicity about the smuggling of illegal Chinese into Cambodia.


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