Sixteen immigration offenders arrested

19 Aug 2015

Territory-wide joint enforcement operations codenamed "Champion" and "Windsand" were mounted by the Immigration Department and other law enforcement agencies yesterday (August 18) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 14 illegal workers and two suspected employers were arrested.

During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided seven target locations including a grocery store and a beauty salon in Sha Tin and Kwai Tsing District. Two illegal workers and two employers were arrested. The two illegal workers were women aged 30 and 32, and one male and one female aged 52 and 34 respectively were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Windsand", 12 Mainland visitors comprising eight men and four women aged 19 to 71 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Cambridge Plaza, San Wan Road in Sheung Shui and Castle Peak Road - San Tin in Lok Ma Chau. The goods involved milk powder, food and electronic products.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 456 Mainlanders and 15 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 219 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay while the remaining 2 237 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 209 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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 also 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.