No more Chinese workers employed near Vietnam military port: official

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Fish farms operating near an important military port in central Vietna are no longer cooperating with foreigners or using foreign workers after seven illegal Chinese workers were expelled, a local official said Friday.

Nguyen Khiem, chief of the Cam Ranh town People's Committee office, told Tien Phong Newspaper that investigations were launched following media reports that several Chinese were operating aquaculture farms near the Cam Ranh military port, but just found one fish farm hiring Chinese workers.

The farm, owned by the Ho Chi Minh City-based Song Phong Trade and Services Ltd., Co. employed two Chinese with licenses, but the duo had failed to register for temporary residence, he said.

Five others working at three other aquaculture businesses were found violating immigration and residential regulations, and all seven had been fined and expelled, he added.

In December 2009 provincial border soldiers had reported that Song Phong and other firms were employing Chinese, prompting Khanh Hoa authorities to order Cam Ranh to investigate.

Town authorities then fined Song Phong VND5 million (US$238)and ordered it to relocate its farm.

But the issue of Chinese workers was not addressed and the company did not relocate either, Khiem said.

4 Chinese disappear

While authorities recently expelled the seven Chinese, four others who had been found working as technicians illegally for a shrimp farm north of Nha Trang left their hotels without notice, VnExpress quoted Colonel Ho Thanh Tung of the Khanh Hoa Province Border Guards as saying.

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So far 23 Chinese have been found working without papers in the aquaculture industry in Khanh Hoa, the news website reported.

Elsewhere, authorities in the central province of Phu Yen held a meeting with related agencies and owned up responsibility for allowing Chinese nationals to breed fish in Vung Ro Bay.

Ho Van Tien, chief of the People's Committee office, said the provincial military had erred in letting its logistics department allow Thuan Hoang Company to operate aquaculture farms without supervising its activities.

Thanh Nien discovered earlier that Thuan Hoang had applied in 2010 for permission for three Chinese to work for it, but the foreigners ended up breeding fish on their own. Local authorities also issued licenses to several other companies to hire Chinese workers.

Tien said other authorities like the police and the agriculture and investment departments had also failed to properly supervise the farms' activities.

But he blamed this partly on the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Directorate of Fisheries has given blanket permission for Chinese boats to enter Vietnamese waters to buy seafood.

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