24 March 2015
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force yesterday (March 23) jointly mounted an anti-illegal employment operation codenamed "Windsand" in the Sheung Shui area. During the operation, 23 Mainland visitors comprising 12 men and 11 women aged 25 to 70 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Po Wan Road, San Wan Road and Po Shek Wu Road. The goods included milk powder, food, red wine, skin-care products, daily necessities, clothes, mobile phones and other electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 030 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 214 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay while the remaining 1 816 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 203 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending court hearing, and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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.