Nine immigration offenders arrested

16 Jun 2015

A territory-wide enforcement operation codenamed "Twilight" and a joint operation codenamed "Windsand" were mounted by the Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force to combat illegal employment activities on June 15. A total of eight illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested.

During operation "Twilight", officers of the Immigration Task Force raided 14 target locations including an elderly home, restaurants, stalls and a factory. Two male illegal workers aged 27 and 31 were arrested. One man aged 55 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Windsand", three men and three women aged from 28 to 54 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at San Wan Road and Po Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods involved milk powder, food, skin-care products, mobile phones and other electronic products.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 353 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 216 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 2 137 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 206 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months while charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.

"Visitors are not allowed to take 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.