Police have arrested and deported as many as 15 nationals from China, India, Russia and Nigeria as part of their ongoing push to identify foreigners living in the country illegally through a new nationwide census, officials said Monday.
The foreigners were all deported from Pailin, Pursat and Battambang provinces and sent back to their home countries by plane, said Lieutenant General Khun Sambo, a deputy director-general of the Interior Ministry’s new immigration department, who is in charge of the three provinces.
“I found out directly about 14 or 15 foreigners who were Chinese, Indian, Russian and Nigerian nationals. When we found them, we sent them away by plane quickly,” Lt. Gen. Sambo said, declining to say who paid for the flights.
The census, which began last month, has also led to expulsion of 14 Vietnamese citizens living illegally in Ratanakkiri province.
Oeun Sarun, deputy police chief in Battambang, said Monday that police in his province deported 11 Vietnamese on August 25, but no other foreign nationals. Mr. Sarun said several non-Vietnamese foreigners were found to have “small faults” with their documentation, but were not kicked out.
Ban Heng, deputy police chief in Pursat, said four Vietnamese and two Indians have so far been deported from the province.
On Saturday, police in Preah Sihanouk province arrested a 25-year-old American, Ian Andrew Heller of Nebraska, for overstaying his visa. Mr. Heller, whose passport information was posted to the National Police website the same day, was sent to the immigration department in Phnom Penh.
Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Keo Ratana confirmed Monday that Mr. Heller was targeted as part of the new census.
Although officials say the full results of the census will not be released until it is complete, immigration department officials overseeing three- and four-province blocs of the country say the survey is wrapping up.