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BORDER GUARDS WORK TIRELESSLY TO PREVENT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
As illegal entry and exit is a threat to the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, border soldiers across the country are making efforts to prevent illegal entrance, especially before the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
With a 277km border with China, the northern province of Hà Giang has the most illegal entry and exit activities in the country.
Colonel Lưu Đức Hùng, an official from Hà Giang Province Border Guard, said COVID-19 prevention work would be harder prior to Tết because illegal immigrants tend to increase.
Border guards have strengthened inspections and maintained 59 checkpoints and 17 mobile teams comprising 425 staff to work around the clock.
Campaigns have been launched to encourage people to comply with the Government’s regulations on COVID-19 prevention.
Head of Xín Cái Border Guard Station in Mèo Vạc District Tạ Tấn Hoàng said they have handled 840 unlawful immigrant cases involving 6,746 people since the outbreak of COVID-19.
It is likely that there will be an increase in illegal immigration from China to Việt Nam for the Tết holiday, he said.
Major Mua Mí Cáy, a political officer at the station, said despite facing hardships and poor living conditions, soldiers on the front lines always showed strong determination and will only return home after the pandemic ends.
“All officers and soldiers of the station have decided to stay at the station during the Tết holidays,” he was quoted by Nhân dân (People) newspaper as saying.
Prevention measures against COVID-19 are also being deployed in the northern province of Cao Bằng.
Colonel Lục Văn Tiệp from Cao Bằng Border Guard Command said border guards in coordination with local authorities have tightened control over immigration.
Local residents are encouraged to inform border guards as soon as they detected illegal migrants or individuals involved in unlawful immigrant activities.
Border guards in the province said they have prevented about 8,300 illegal immigrants since the beginning of the year. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against 36 people who arranged for people enter the country illegally.
The northern province of Quảng Ninh is also reportedly taking action against illegal immigration.
Lê Hồng Vân, head of Móng Cái City Police, told Vietnam News Agency that in addition to setting up 39 stations at important positions, the city has implemented disease prevention measures on the basis of promoting the role and responsibility of the party committee, residential groups, commune police, self-governing groups in villages and neighbourhoods.
In 2020, local police handled 207 cases involving foreigners, including many cases related to illegal entry and residence, he said.
The People’s Committee of the south-eastern province of Bình Phước, which has more than 260km of border, has ordered relevant agencies to tighten management along the border as one of the important tasks in COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.
The province has kept 62 stations and 11 mobile COVID-19 control stations open 24 hours a day.
Mekong Delta provinces of Đồng Tháp, An Giang, Kiên Giang and Vĩnh Long which share a border with Cambodia have simultaneously tightened control of people moving across the border. More control stations have been established to prevent illegal entry.
With a 50.5km long borderline with Cambodia, border guards, police and militia in Đồng Tháp Province have been present at 14 checkpoints to do their duties.
Lieutenant Phan Thanh Thế from Cầu Muống Border Station in Đồng Tháp Province’s Hồng Ngự District said he had been on duty since the pandemic broke out in early 2020 in spite of feeling homesick.
“Day and night we take turns patrolling, both on land and waterways. Everyone is aware that they have to fulfil the assigned tasks, especially the prevention and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect people and also to protect ourselves and our families,” he said.
According to the Border Guard High Command, illegal border entries have been rising recently in Việt Nam.
The first day of 2021 saw 180 undocumented immigrants detected. Of these, 162 people entered the country via the China-Việt Nam border and the rest via the Việt Nam-Cambodia border.
As of December 28, the border guards have dealt with 32,679 illegal immigrants.
Suspects have adopted new tricks such as hiding in vehicles transporting goods; using social networks and mobile phones to collude or arrange for people to enter the country unlawfully, making the job of border guards more difficult.
At a online meeting held between the Government and localities last Tuesday, Minister of Public Security Tô Lâm admitted that hundreds of people illegally enter the country each day, putting increasing pressure on local police forces.
According to the official, more than 70,000 Vietnamese people have been brought home from abroad on repatriation flights organised by the government so far this year.
The number of immigrants is expected to rise ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday which is just a month away, he said.
"The life of Vietnamese people in virus-hit areas abroad is very difficult so many of them want to return home, especially during the Tết holiday,” Lâm said.
A large number of Vietnamese people based in China and Cambodia will attempt to cross the border and enter the country in the near future, making it vital to strengthen border management, he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc called on all citizens to report illegal immigrants and stay vigilant about such entries as they may pose risks of COVID-19 infection.
Cases entering Vietnam illegally must be strongly denounced, he said.
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