Just a day after the deportation of 105 Chinese nationals, officials gave conflicting versions of the whereabouts of nine illegal immigrants arrested last month in Phnom Penh and detained in T3 prison.
T3 Prison Director Kuy Bunsorn said Tuesday that the nine were released Sunday and deported to China. “On Sunday two planes arrived from China at 11:30 am and departed around 12,” said Kuy Bunsorn, adding that Immigration Police Chief Prok Sareoun was present.
But Prok Sareoun said Tuesday that he wasn’t even in Phnom Penh on Sunday.
“I don’t know about this. I was not at the airport. I was in Sihanoukville on Sunday. Planes did not arrive from China to pick up illegal Chinese immigrants,” said Prok Sareoun, adding he will contact the director of T3 to clarify the matter.
National Police Director General Hok Lundy also said no deportations occurred Sunday.
Officials have confirmed that 105 illegal immigrants were secretly deported from Pochentong Military Airbase on Monday. But the T3 prisoners weren’t part of that group, officials said.
Secrecy has surrounded the deportation of illegal Chinese immigrants from Cambodia in recent weeks, with journalists being preventing from entering the airfield and independently verifying departures.
Chinese embassy officials couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. Some 286 Chinese nationals are still believed to be in custody at various locations around the capital.
Nget Sarath, deputy chief prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, also said Tuesday that the nine Chinese were charged with illegally entering Cambodia and were being held in T3 prison while the court deals with the case.