Seventeen Vietnamese construction workers were arrested and the passports of 142 Chinese construction workers confiscated when immigration officers raided a building site in Phnom Penh on Tuesday afternoon.
According to Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s general department of immigration, his officers inspected a Chamkar Mon construction site that belongs to the Chinese-owned Sino Great Wall International Engineering Company and found widespread violations of immigration laws.
“We found 142 Chinese workers without work permits. We are working with the Ministry of Labor to confiscate their passports and impose a fine of 500,000 riel [about $125] per worker upon the company,” Major General Heisela said.
“We also arrested 17 Vietnamese workers, as 10 of them were using one-month tourist visas to work here illegally while seven of them do not have a passport or work permit and will therefore be deported.”
One Chinese worker, who declined to be named, said he had been at the worksite for three months.
“We feel betrayed and stepped on by Cambodian authorities,” he said.
Contacted by telephone, a representative of the company declined to comment.