Five Vietnamese illegal workers jailed

5 April 2016

Four Vietnamese illegal immigrants and one Vietnamese illegal worker holding an Immigration recognisance form were jailed at Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts on April 1 and 2.

In an anti-illegal employment operation mounted on March 30, officers of the Immigration Department (ImmD) raided 11 target locations including restaurants and tailor shops in Kowloon Bay, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun. One male and four female illegal workers aged 22 to 44 were arrested. All of them are Vietnamese. When intercepted, they were washing dishes and glasses, cleaning, preparing food and cooking in the kitchens of restaurants. Upon identity checking, the arrested man produced for inspection a recognisance form, which prohibits him from taking employment, issued by ImmD, and further investigation revealed that he was a non-refoulement claimant. Furthermore, the four women were found to be illegal immigrants. In addition, investigators at three locations seized four copies of Hong Kong identity cards which bore the portraits of the four female arrestees.

During the investigation, all of the arrestees admitted to taking up employment illegally to earn money. Four of them also admitted to obtaining a forged Hong Kong identity card or a copy of a forged Hong Kong identity card for job seeking, and then presenting it in a job interview.

The five arrestees were each charged by the Sha Tin Magistrates' Court on April 1 and 2 due to taking up employment after landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration or while being a person in respect of whom a removal order was in force. They pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. Four of them also pleaded guilty to the use of a forged Hong Kong identity card or a copy of a forged Hong Kong identity card and were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from six months to 15 months. All charges are to run concurrently.

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 up 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. In addition, 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. Anyone who uses or is in possession of a forged instrument commits an offence. Offenders are liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, the maximum penalty is 14 years' imprisonment.