18 Jun 2002

Call for enquiry in Fiji into arrivals of Chinese nationals

4:40 pm on 18 June 2002

The Labour party in Fiji is calling for an enquiry into how large numbers of recently arrived Chinese nationals have got into the country.

The call follows a recent spate of crimes including four murders last week, money laundering, people smuggling, prostitution rackets and illegal gambling which police say involve Chinese nationals.

A Labour party spokesperson, John Ali, says he believes that there may be officials in the Immigration department who have been handing out visas when they shouldn't be.

"They were brought into the country through normal chanels - they entered through the airport or other ports of entry, and because of the involvement of some immigration officers, who would just let them pass through, or you know, just giving them a visa - who would under normal circumstances, would not have been given a work permit."

Mr Ali says he has no evidence that officials have done this but the large numbers of northern Chinese nationals working in garment factories show there could be a problem.

He also says that they could have entered the country illegally from Chinese fishing vessels working in the area.