Nine immigration offenders arrested

28 October 2014

The Immigration Department yesterday (October 27) arrested six illegal workers and three suspected employers during a territory-wide anti-illegal workers operation codenamed "Twilight".

During the operation, Immigration Task Force officers raided 133 target locations including restaurants, stalls and a food processing centre. Six female illegal workers aged between 26 and 39 were arrested. Among them, three were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. One of the six arrestees was suspected of being in possession of and using a forged Hong Kong identity card and another two women were suspected of being in possession of and using a Hong Kong identity card related to other person. Moreover, three men, aged between 20 and 48, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

"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," an Immigration Department spokesman said.

The spokesman warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

The spokesman also warned that it is an offence for illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order to take any employment or to establish or join in any business. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment should be applied in such cases.

The spokesman also 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. It is also an offence if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker's identity card or, if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card, his or her valid travel document. The maximum penalty for failing to do so is a fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for one year. To deter unlawful employment, the High Court laid down sentencing guidelines in 2004 reaffirming that it is a serious offence to employ someone who is not legally employable, and stating that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence.