Police crack down on illegal Chinese aliens in southern Vietnam

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Shops owned by Chinese nationals in Binh Duong, mostly illegal aliens, were closed Monday when authorities carried out raids

The Binh Duong Province police Monday began investigating the presence of many illegal Chinese aliens in Di An town.

Thanh Nien had last week reported about scores of Chinese living in apartments, setting up shops and restaurants with signboards and menus only in Chinese and refusing to serve non-Chinese customers, and using Chinese money.

Following that, the police, immigration officials, and market managers began to carry out raids.

They had to break into an apartment at Song Than Residential Area after people inside refused to open the door. Inside, they found a Chinese man and a Vietnamese couple who claimed to be husband and wife. The Chinese was taken to a nearby police station.

At another apartment, no one was inside, and the police suspect the occupants had escaped through a window. Neighbors said around 10 Chinese lived there.

The police said Chinese nationals lived in possibly 12 apartments in the area, and they had refused to open their door. Since they could not break open all the doors, they had to leave.

Many shops and restaurants with Chinese signboards were also closed during the raid.

A Vietnamese restaurant owner in the area said "After the Thanh Nien report, these shops shut down. Some only opened for a few hours a day and closed when they saw the police this morning."

The report on July 23 quoted locals as saying the Chinese caused security problems.

An apartment manager at An Binh Building in Di An said, "They litter everywhere. They would gather in apartments for parties, screaming and noisily beating on things through the night.

"When the police came, they just refused to open their doors."

The building rents out nearly 40 apartments to Chinese nationals who have not registered for temporary residency.

Lieutenant Colonel Phan Thanh Trung admitted there were difficulties in dealing with the illegal aliens, who "find all means to avoid the police."

In the first six months of this year the police had fined 36 Chinese nearly VND100 million (US$4,800) for overstaying their visas.

The Chinese are thought to have arrived in Vietnam as tourists before trying various ways to stay, including marrying Vietnamese women, and legalize their shops and restaurants.

The police and labor authorities have been busy passing the buck.

The former said the Binh Duong Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is responsible, while the department said it only supervises businesses with at least 10 foreigners, and not small shops and restaurants owned by the Chinese.

"There is no agency to manage such kinds of businesses," an official from the department said.

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