Borders tighten up

Asian nationals who were deported from Fiji arrive at the Changchun Longjia International Airport. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE capture and deportation of 77 Chinese nationals from Fiji in August last year has resulted in the tightening of screening procedures at our borders, says Immigration Fiji director Nemani Vuniwaqa.

Speaking during a press conference at the Pacific Immigration Directors’ Conference in Nadi yesterday, he said the clampdown had resulted in some local companies questioning Immigration Fiji’s policies.

“We have learnt from those kinds of issues, we have made sure that the same mistakes will not be committed, we have ensured that we cover all those areas and that is why we have upped our systems and strengthened our policies and processes,” he said.

“That has resulted in some organisations and companies criticising us by saying Immigration Fiji has changed its policies, but that isn’t true; what has happened is we have strengthened our existing policies “We have not changed the law, if we were to do that we would have to go to Parliament. When we strengthened our processes, they have reacted because now they are finding it difficult to bring in any Tom, Dick and Harry.”

Seventy-seven Chinese nationals were deported from Fiji after a joint operation between Chinese and Fijian law enforcement agencies.

The suspects were captured in Fiji and taken to a specially flown in China Southern aircraft at Nadi International Airport, handcuffed and cloaked in black hoods and numbered vests.

They were accused of being involved in a $1.86 million telecom and online fraud racket.