In an effort to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic, Vietnamese border forces in a number of provinces such as An Giang, Dong Thap, Kien Giang, and Dac Nong pushed and prevented dozens of Vietnamese from attempting to illegally returned from Cambodia in recent times, according to domestic press.
The latest incident was a border post at Vinh Xuong border gate, An Giang, as they blocked a family of 8 Vietnamese people on the morning of April 26.
Newspapers including Tuoi Tre, Brand, and Cong Luan further reported that the border post’s mission team mobilized the family to return to Cambodia to do business.
According to the People’s Army newspaper, on April 26 alone, the border guards on the Vietnam-Cambodia border detected and blocked 32 people, of which 21 were in An Giang and 11 were in Kien Giang. On the Vietnam-Laos borderline, the border forces detected and stopped 6 people.
Writer-journalist Nguyen Dinh Bon, who has a lot of influence on social networks, expressed on his personal page that he was infinitely sad when he read the news mentioned above.
From the perspective of Mr. Bon, it is unfortunate that the Vietnamese have to travel the real way across the border, but when trying to return to their motherland to avoid the epidemic abroad, they are pushed by the border guards.
Social progress activist Nguyen Lan Thang told VOA he was dissatisfied with the news that the Vietnamese border guards refused to allow Vietnamese entry from Cambodia and Laos while the epidemic spread rapidly in these countries.
“That is the lack of humanity,” Mr. Thang commented. He added:
“It is clear that the functional forces in that border area lack the sensitivity and skillful handling of the Vietnamese. This is also contrary to the government’s words that always tell the people that the state cares for and protects its citizens, and always belongs to the people, by the people, for the people. That is very offensive.”
On April 24, according to domestic press reports, the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia sent a message to the Vietnamese community and Vietnamese citizens living in Cambodia, confirming that the embassy was very sympathetic. With the current difficulties of the community, at the same time, it is also recommended that Vietnamese people and Vietnamese citizens do not try to move to Vietnam through illegal transportation lines.
The message of the Vietnamese Embassy emphasizes that at present the border gates and borders are strictly controlled by the security forces and the border guards of both countries and that there are severe penalties for those who cross the border illegally, including administrative fines and imprisonment.
From the Mekong Delta region, Mr. Nguyen Le Dinh, a resident, told VOA that he felt pain when he learned that the Vietnamese people, because of the road at the same time the epidemic spread, had to find a way to escape.
But Mr. Dinh supports the An Giang border force and neighboring provinces tightly controlling the border:
“Not only the people of An Giang but also neighboring provinces are worried about the spread of the epidemic. So it is necessary for forces such as border guards to keep the border in order to control those who enter illegally, so I think it is very necessary at this moment. If the border control is not strengthened, but the number of people who enter illegally does not go through medical inspection and quarantine, it will be very dangerous for the community.”
Cambodian media, including the Khmer Times, said on April 27 that in the past week, the number of Covid-19 infections in the neighboring country with Vietnam has been continuously at 300 to over 650 cases per day.
By the evening of April 26, the total number of infections in Cambodia was 10,555, of which 79 people were killed. Meanwhile, from the beginning of the pandemic up to now, Vietnam has had 2,860 infections and 35 deaths, several times lower than the neighboring country whose population is only 1/16 of Vietnam.
From the position of a citizen, Mr. Nguyen Le Dinh expressed his hope that the coming of Vietnamese authorities would have a way to help the compatriots returning illegally from neighboring countries.
Activist Nguyen Lan Thang proposed that the Vietnamese state should be ingenious in this matter, for example taking the name of the state or mass organizations calling for contributions, humanitarian support from the people in the country to solve the reception, quarantine, and help of Vietnamese entering unofficially.