More Vietnamese Are Targeted in Census Raids

Six Vietnamese nationals found to be living in the country illegally were arrested Monday during raids on three separate businesses in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok and Tuol Kok districts as a census of foreigners in the country wraps up.

Uk Heisela, chief of the investigations department at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said that four women and two men were arrested in raids on a massage parlor, a cafe and a furniture workshop following covert inspections of the businesses by authorities.

“We went to…those areas because our secret forces investigated and discovered that Vietnamese people were staying there illegally,” Major General Heisela said, adding that all six would be deported.

He said that during the operation, police also discovered that 25 Vietnamese nationals employed at the three locations were working on tourist visas, and warned that authorities would return when they expire to ensure they had been replaced with work visas.

Vietnamese nationals account for 1,001 of the 1,246 foreigners deported since the census began in August, more than 700 of whom were arrested in Phnom Penh.

Asked why the census has seemingly targeted citizens of Cambodia’s eastern neighbor, Maj. Gen. Heisela said only that his department would, beginning this month, be more inclusive in its enforcement of existing laws.

“Starting from the middle of January, we will implement the law and will arrest all foreigners who do not have passports and we will fine foreigners who have passports but an incorrect visa,” he said.

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