20 January 2016
After receiving complaints last month against Mainland residents who had breached their conditions of stay by working in temples, the Immigration Department mounted enforcement operations yesterday (January 19) to combat illegal employment activities in two temples located in the Tsuen Wan and Yau Tong districts. Five illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested. The five illegal workers were men aged 28 to 41. One woman aged 69 was suspected of employing the illegal workers. Investigation is now in progress.
"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 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 a 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.