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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 22, 2002 - Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---A "new-look border control" has been introduced by Fiji's Ministry of Home Affairs to clamp down on illegal immigrants, mainly from Asia.

Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Joketani Cokanasiga said that even the Immigration Department is not "exactly aware as to how many illegal immigrants are in the country."

Mr. Cokanasiga said his ministry had come to this conclusion after incidents involving Asians were reported to the police and discoveries made that they had entered the country illegally.

The border control will now introduce snap checks in addition to regular checks on visitors entering the country.

Mr. Cokanasiga said that people coming in through the wharves had been under scrutiny lately, with police posted to see that their papers are in order.

Immigration officials have established that Asians top the list of illegal immigrants, and Mr. Cokanasiga said Home Affairs is aware of Asians connected to illegal activities.

He said his ministry is monitoring some people and as soon as they get caught breaking the law the authorities will not hesitate to act.

Mr. Cokanasiga said the Look North Policy introduced by the government to encourage Asian investors to come to Fiji could be encouraging illegal immigration.

"Sometimes in the process, some bad eggs could drift unseen," he said.

Mr. Cokanasiga said allegations of gambling and prostitution involving illegal immigrants is a concern within the Asian community.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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