Mainland resident jailed for taking unapproved employment as post-natal care worker

10 February 2012

A female Mainland resident was sentenced at Shatin Magistrates' Court today (February 10) to two months in prison for working illegally in Hong Kong as a post-natal care worker. She pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of condition of stay.

On February 7, the 43-year-old defendant was stopped for further examination at Shenzhen Bay Control Point, where she presented for arrival clearance on the strength of an Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao affixed with a "Shangwu" endorsement. During questioning by an immigration official, she failed to account for certain details of her business activities in Hong Kong. Upon further enquiry, the defendant admitted that she was in fact coming to Hong Kong to take care of the wife of her Mainland employer, who had just given birth to a pair of twins in Hong Kong.

Investigation revealed that the defendant was an odd-job assistant at her employer's company in the Mainland. In December 2011, the employer's wife, a Mainlander who was in the advanced stages of pregnancy, hired the defendant as a post-natal care worker. The defendant accepted the offer and came to Hong Kong to take care of the employer's wife, who was at that time residing in a serviced apartment in Hong Kong. The employer's wife had already made a residential booking at a private hospital, where she gave birth to a pair of twin babies in late January. Further investigation into the employer and his wife's suspected offence is continuing.

The spokesman warned that visitors are not allowed to take employment, or establish or join in any business, in Hong Kong without the permission of the Director of Immigration. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for two years.

The spokesman appealed to employers not to employ illegal workers, warning that it is an offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable. The maximum penalty is a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years. To deter unlawful employment, the High Court laid down a sentencing guideline in 2004 reaffirming that it is a serious offence to employ someone who is not legally employable, and that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence.