Eleven immigration offenders arrested

19 Nov 2015

A territory-wide enforcement operation codenamed "Twilight" and a joint operation codenamed "Powerplayer" were mounted by the Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department yesterday (November 18) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of eight illegal workers and three suspected employers were arrested.

During operation "Twilight", officers of the Immigration Task Force raided four target locations including restaurants and residential flats under renovation. Three illegal workers were arrested. The three illegal workers comprised two men and one woman aged 38 to 50. One man and one woman aged 19 and 59 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Powerplayer", enforcement officers raided 16 target locations including restaurants and shops in Kowloon West Region. Five illegal workers comprising four men and one woman aged 22 to 49 were arrested. Among them, one man and one woman were suspected of using and being in possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards. One woman aged 45 was 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 warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged identity card. 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.