Eleven immigration offenders arrested

22 Dec 2015

A territory-wide enforcement operation codenamed "Twilight" and a series of joint enforcement operations codenamed "Champion" were mounted by the Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department yesterday (December 21) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of seven illegal workers and four suspected employers were arrested.

During operation "Twilight", officers of the Immigration Task Force raided three target locations including restaurants and a residential flat under renovation. Two illegal workers comprising one man and one woman, aged 48 and 52 respectively, were arrested. The woman was a holder of a recognisance form, which prohibits her from taking any employment. One man, aged 56, was suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided 20 target locations including a massage centre, restaurants and residential flats under renovation in Central, North Point and Chai Wan districts. Five illegal workers and three suspected employers were arrested. The illegal workers comprised one man and four women aged 27 to 46. Among them, two women were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. One man and two women, aged 43 to 54, were 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 for illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order to take any employment or to establish or join in any business. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment should be applied in such cases.

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.