More than 540 deported in first nine months

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police escorted the deportation of foreign criminals in 2019. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) deported 542 foreigners in the first nine months of this year for various offences.

GDI spokesman Keo Vanthan said the deportees were a mix of 40 nationalities, most of them Chinese.

Since 2014, he said the GDI had deported 17,599 foreigners from 104 nations, most were for crimes such as drugs, human trafficking, sex trafficking, kidnapping, cyber bullying and violence.

“We strictly enforce the law on foreigners in Cambodia. If they violate the law, we enforce the immigration law with deportations. He said Covid-19 means foreigners must take extra care to follow the law and disease precautions.

“If we find a perpetrator, we can evict that person quickly under the heightened circumstances. If they want to come to Cambodia, they have to obey the law and safety conditions,” he said.

Separately, Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities deported two Chinese women on November 20 for prostitution.

Provincial police chief Chuon Narin said the case was under the GDI’s jurisdiction.

“I know two Chinese nationals were deported but the immigration department handled it,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director for rights group Licadho, said on November 23 foreigners who enter Cambodia illegally must be detained under the immigration law, as is the case in every other country.

Sam Ath said if foreigners have committed a criminal offence in the country, they must serve time in Cambodia or be deported to a country through extradition requests.

He noted, however, that deportation does not apply to human rights violations.

“We support the proper implementation of the law, international standards and human rights principles because deportation is not limited to Cambodia. It is done by every country,” he said.