Forty-Seven Migrant Workers to Be Deported

Nearly 60 illegal Vietnamese migrant workers were arrested by immigration police Wednesday during raids on six furniture workshops and a coffee shop in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, an immigration official said.

Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said that about 40 officers surrounded the workshops in Boeng Trabek commune at about 9 a.m. before searching for laborers without the proper work paper and residency documents.

A police officer examines a document during a raid in Phnom Penh's Chamkar Mon district on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
A police officer examines a document during a raid in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“We cooperated with the local authorities to check on many furniture workshops…. We found a total of 57 workers—carpenters and carvers” who lacked the necessary documentation, Major General Heisela said, adding that a coffee shop in the area was also caught in the dragnet.

Those detained were transferred to a temporary holding compound near Phnom Penh International Airport, where police checked on their employment statuses, he said.

“Among those we detained, we found that only six of them had a passport, and four others had visas, but no work permit,” he said, explaining that the 10 would be sent to the immigration department for further questioning and required to pay for work permits and visas.

Maj. Gen. Heisela said the 47 people without a visa or passport —all Vietnamese nationals save one Chinese man—would be sent back to their home countries.

“Maybe we will deport them at the end of this week or early next week,” he said.

Since July last year, immigration police have arrested more than 3,000 foreigners from 46 countries—including 2,800 from Vietnam—who were found to be in the country illegally, he added.

Over the past year, immigration police have carried out dozens of raids in Phnom Penh in an effort to clamp down on illegal migrant workers.

Vann Norn, who owns a workshop in the area where Wednesday’s operation took place, said the possibility of further raids had influenced his hiring decisions.

“Khmer and Vietnamese workers are paid about the same wages, so I choose only Khmer, because I am worried about police raids on my workshop,” he said.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News