Eight immigration offenders arrested at Lunar New Year Fairs

5 February 2016

The Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department jointly mounted a series of territory-wide anti-illegal worker operations at Lunar New Year Fairs yesterday (February 4).

During the operations, enforcement officers raided target stalls at 11 Lunar New Year Fairs, namely those at Victoria Park, Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, Sha Tin, Sheung Shui, Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan. Five illegal workers and three employers were arrested. The illegal workers comprise four men and one woman aged between 15 and 38. Two men and one woman, aged from 26 to 39, 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 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 was a serious offence to employ someone who was not legally employable, and stating that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence.