Twenty immigration offenders arrested

19 December 2014

The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on December 16, 17 and 18 in New Territories North District. During the operations, 20 Mainland visitors comprising seven men and 13 women aged from 27 to 56 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road - San Tin in Lok Ma Chau, as well as Tung Hing Road, Shek Wu Hui Jockey Club Playground, Ka Fu Close and San Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, wine, nutritious food, skin-care products, daily necessities and electronic products.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 650 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 210 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 1 440 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 210 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending a court hearing and charges were withdrawn for another nine people.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.