1,200 Vietnamese accused of illegal immigration in Russia

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The Vietnamese Embassy in Russia is taking measures to protecting 1,200 Vietnamese who have been recently arrested on suspicion of illegal immigration, the Vietnam Consular Department has announced.

The Vietnamese are among 1,400 foreigners that Russian police apprehended at textile factories in a market east of Moscow on July 31, according to the department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It said the embassy has sent officials to work with Russian agencies in clarifying the case, and requested local authorities to guarantee living and eating conditions for the Vietnamese during the investigation.

It quoted Russian authorities as saying that they are questioning the detainees, and will release those who have legal documents.

The Vietnamese embassy is keeping a close watch and working closely with Russian authorities to handle the case, and guarantee that Vietnamese citizens are able to continue living and working in Russia, the department said.

In the meantime, the Russian-owned news agency RIA Novosti last Thursday reported that a Vietnamese national is among eight people suspected of organizing illegal labor at 20 textile factories probed during the same raid.

The suspects, four of whom are reportedly Russian nationals and the rest from Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Syria, were also detained.

Russian investigators have launched criminal action against the suspects on the charge of setting up a criminal gang and organizing illegal migration, AFP reported.

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The French news agency quoted police as saying that the immigrants were found sewing clothes with fake designer labels.

They were living in "unsanitary conditions" with their families, including pregnant and unweaned babies, it reported.

According to RIA Novosti, Moscow police recently launched a series of raids on the city's marketplaces to "decriminalize them," after a local police officer was attacked by an angry mob at a market last month and was seriously injured.

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