Nine immigration offenders arrested at Lunar New Year Fairs

18 February 2015

Following the joint operations mounted on February 16, the Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department jointly mounted a series of territory-wide anti-illegal workers operations again at Lunar New Year Fairs yesterday (February 17).

During the operations, enforcement officers raided target locations at seven Lunar New Year Fairs, namely those in Victoria Park, Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Sha Tin, Tai Po and Sheung Shui. Five illegal workers and four employers were arrested. The five illegal workers comprise three men and two women aged 16 to 54. Three men and one woman aged 26 to 62 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 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.