25 Sept 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on September 22 and 24 in the New Territories North District.
During the operations, 17 Mainland visitors comprising two men and 15 women aged 26 to 58 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road, San Tin Highway in Lok Ma Chau and Choi Yuen Estate and San Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, foods, drinks, red wine and spices.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 394 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 201 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay and three are under investigation, while the remaining 1 190 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 192 out of 201 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for another nine people.
"Visitors are not allowed to take up employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years' imprisonment. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties. The Immigration Department will continue to take enforcement action with related law enforcement departments against the offences concerned," an Immigration Department spokesman said.