Seven immigration offenders arrested at Lunar New Year fairs

17 February 2015

The Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal workers operations at Lunar New Year fairs including those at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok yesterday (February 16).

During the operations, enforcement officers raided 10 target stalls at Lunar New Year fairs. Three female illegal workers aged from 37 to 50 were arrested. Moreover, three men and one woman, aged 18 to 61, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

The operation is still in progress.

"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 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/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.