Immigration police arrested 36 illegal Vietnamese immigrants Thursday morning during coordinated raids of 18 furniture shops in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, an immigration official said.
The raids were carried out as part of the government’s ongoing census of foreigners living in the country, said Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s general department of immigration, adding that all of the furniture shops were located in Phsar Doeum Thkov commune, where local residents had tipped off authorities to the presence of the Vietnamese laborers.
“We arrested 36 at 18 furniture shops,” he said. “Twenty-one of them had passports, but they [only] had tourist visas, which they cannot use to work in the country.”
Lt. Gen. Heisela said the 21 had been given a week to leave the country, while the remaining 15 would be deported next week. Since the start of the year—when the census was scheduled to finish—some 600 illegal immigrants have been deported by the Interior Ministry, about 500 of them Vietnamese, Lt. Gen. Heisela said.