Ministry Figures Show Marked Decline in Illegal Immigrants

The Ministry of Interior reported that 638 immigrants either illegally entered Cambodia or overstayed their visas during 2001, a marked decrease from the 1,000-plus illegal immigrants who en­tered in 2000.

Afghans topped the list of illegal immigrants entering into the country, with 266 reported during 2001. Vietnamese migrants were second (124), followed by Pakis­tanis (70), Chinese (50), Koreans (17, and the report did not distinguish between North and South) and Bangladeshi (15). A small num­ber of Indonesians, Swedes and Iraqis also illegally entered Cam­bodia, the report stated.

The Ministry of Interior deported 449 immigrants and arrested seven people.

Despite the numbers showing a decrease in illegal immigration, an official from the In­ternational Organization for Mi­gration contended that illegal im­migration is on the rise.

Thousands of people, mainly from other Asian countries, pass illegally through Cambodia each year, while large numbers—mostly from Vietnam—have lived in the country for many years with­out Cambodian citizenship.

“Cambodia is a transit country. It is a sending and receiving country for immigrants,” the official said. “The borders are por­ous, which makes it very easy for human traffickers and human smugglers.”

The ministry also reported 43 cases of fake passports, 13 cases of forged Cambodian passports and nine fake visa cases.


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