Eleven immigration offenders arrested

2 Dec 2015

The Immigration Department mounted a series of territory-wide enforcement operations, including a joint operation with the Hong Kong Police Force codenamed "Windsand" yesterday (December 1), to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 10 illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested.

During an anti-illegal worker operation, officers of the Immigration Task Force arrested three illegal workers and one employer at a massage centre and on the street. The three illegal workers comprised one man and two women aged from 28 to 62. One woman aged 42 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Windsand", seven Mainland visitors comprising five men and two women aged from 29 to 53 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at San Wan Road and Cambridge Plaza in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, food, daily necessities, electronic components and skincare products.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2,597 Mainlanders and 15 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 223 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay and one is under investigation, while the remaining 2,373 people were repatriated. Of those prosecuted, 212 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending court hearing, and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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 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.