Immigration police on Wednesday arrested 31 Vietnamese migrant workers who were allegedly working illegally as carpenters at a furniture shop in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchay district, a senior police official said Thursday.
A total of 37 workers were initially arrested, but six were released after three produced passports and work permits and three others turned out to be ethnic Khmer Krom, said Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department.
“Now there are only 31 Vietnamese men who cannot speak a word of the Khmer language and are waiting for travel documents to be deported next week,” Major General Heisela said. “We arrested only the migrant workers who have no work permits and are illegal migrant workers.”
Maj. Gen. Heisela said that a number of other illegal Vietnamese workers had hidden when police arrived at the shop on Wednesday, and had then escaped the arrests. He added that the shop had not been shut down after the raid.
“This furniture shop belongs to Torn Thai Eng…who hires illegal Vietnamese migrant workers without travel documents, including their work permits,” he said. “The furniture shop has no sign…and is still operating, but now only with Cambodian carpenters and no Vietnamese migrants.”