Twenty-one immigration offenders arrested

19 Jun 2015

Territory-wide enforcement operations codenamed "Twilight" and a joint operation codenamed "Windsand" were mounted by the Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force on June 17 and 18 to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 18 illegal workers and three suspected employers were arrested.

During operation "Twilight" on June 17 and 18, officers of the Immigration Task Force raided 15 target locations including restaurants, stalls, a factory and units under renovation. Nine illegal workers comprising three men and six women aged from 31 to 49 were arrested. One woman was suspected of using and being in possession of a Hong Kong identity card belonging to another person. Meanwhile, another woman was suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. One man and two women aged from 32 to 46 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Windsand" on June 18, one man and eight women aged from 23 to 63 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. The goods involved milk powder, food, cosmetics, daily necessities, batteries and electronic products.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 362 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 2 146 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 Among those prosecuted, 206 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months while charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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 warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card or a Hong Kong identity card related to another person. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

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.