Fourteen immigration offenders arrested

2 March 2016

The Immigration Department arrested 10 illegal workers and four suspected employers during a territory-wide anti-illegal workers operation codenamed "Twilight" on February 29 and March 1.
 
During the two-day operations, Immigration Task Force officers raided 19 target locations including restaurants, a butcher shop, factories, warehouses, a laundry shop, a dancing centre, construction sites and residential flats. The 10 illegal workers comprise three men and seven women aged 27 to 52. Among them, three men and two women were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. In addition, four women were suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Four employers comprising three men and one woman aged 39 to 67 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 also warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card or a Hong Kong identity card related to another person. 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.