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By Jillian Hicks

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 7, 1999 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Three Chinese women were arrested by authorities after they were found to be staying in the country without proper permits, the Fiji Times reports.

The women were apprehended by the department after it received information from a member of the public about their illegal status.

Director of Immigration John Tevita yesterday urged the public to help them and the police locate illegal immigrants.

Mr. Tevita said arrangements were being made with the Chinese authorities, through the Chinese Embassy in Suva, to have the illegal immigrants deported.

"They are being detained awaiting arrangements for their deportation back to China, which should be finalized in due course," Mr. Tevita said.

The women entered the country with proper visas in 1997, but they remained in the country after their visas expired. Mr. Tevita said this made them illegal immigrants.

The women were arrested two weeks ago and held at the Suva Women’s Prison.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Isikia Savua yesterday declined to comment on the issue.

A local immigration consultant yesterday criticized the harassment of members of the Chinese community by police.

Philip King said he knew there were nationals of other countries who lived in Fiji illegally and were employed without proper permits. Mr. King said China helped Fiji in numerous ways.

Title -- 2029 HUMAN RIGHTS: Fiji police detain Chinese women Date -- April 7, 1999 Byline -- Jillian Hicks Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 7/4/99 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status -- Unabridged

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PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific.

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