2 Sep 2002

Fiji authorities launch crackdown on illegal immigrants

11:31 am on 2 September 2002

Authorities in Fiji have launched a major crackdown on illegal immigrants.

They arrested 12 Asians in the streets of Suva at the weekend.

The joint operation by the police and the Immigration Department was the first of a series planned against over two thousand foreign nationals who are believed to be in Fiji illegally.

Police say three of those detained were overstayers who have been put in prison pending deportation, while nine were found to have work permit applications pending or had been served with notices to leave the country.

The police sommissioner, Colonel Isikia Savua, has urged overstayers to present themselves at the nearest immigration office to clarify their status because further arrest operations will be mounted.

He says otherwise overstayers would be seen as fugitives from the law and would be subject to arest and immediate removal from the country.

The crackdown comes amid reports that many illegals enter the country by coming on fishing boats and transferring to small craft to be ferried ashore