Cambodia identifies 70,000 ‘improper’ citizens, mostly ethnic Vietnamese

By Trong Giap   October 6, 2017 | 10:27 pm PT
Cambodia identifies 70,000 ‘improper’ citizens, mostly ethnic Vietnamese
A Vietnamese woman walks near her house on the banks of the Mekong river in Phnom Penh March 11, 2014. Photo by Reuters/Samrang Pring
Most of the offenders are Vietnamese born in Cambodia. 

Cambodian authorities are moving forward to revoke official documents from 70,000 individuals, mostly ethnic Vietnamese born in Cambodia, because the documents had been “improperly” issued and mistakenly confer citizenship on “immigrants”, The Phnompenh Post reported.

“It is a national problem, not any specific person. Therefore, we need to solve this,” said Sar Khen, Minister of Interior.

Most of the offenders were ethnic Vietnamese who had been born in Cambodia and have no other citizenship, said Sok Phal, head of the Immigration Department.

“We don’t remove their citizenship, they are Vietnamese. We just take the Cambodian documents,” he added.

Phal said the individuals would be labelled as illegal migrants, but assured they would not be forcibly removed. They could inquire with local authorities whether they could apply for immigrant status because they had lived in Cambodia for a long time. 

Many Vietnamese families have been living around the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Most of them were born there after their grandfathers or fathers left southern Vietnam to seek refuge from the chaotic French colonization and the Vietnam War.

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