29 April 2016
The Immigration Department mounted a series of territory-wide enforcement operations on April 27 and 28, including an operation codenamed "Twilight" and joint operations with the Hong Kong Police Force codenamed "Windsand", to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 18 illegal workers and two suspected employers were arrested.
During operation "Twilight" conducted on April 27, Immigration Task Force officers raided a shop under renovation in Sha Tin. Four male illegal workers aged 28 to 44 were arrested. One man aged 30 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.
In an anti-illegal employment operation conducted on April 28, Immigration Task Force officers raided a plastics factory in Kwai Chung. Two male illegal workers aged 20 and 23 were arrested. The two arrestees were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. They were also suspected of using and being in possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards. One man aged 44 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.
During operation "Windsand" conducted on April 28, 12 Mainland visitors comprising seven men and five women aged 22 to 54 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at San Wan Road, Ka Fu Close, in Sheung Shui and Castle Peak Road - San Tin in Lok Ma Chau. The goods included red wine, milk powder, daily necessities, foods, skincare products, electronic products and electronic components.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2,799 Mainlanders and 17 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 228 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 2,571 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 218 were sentenced to imprisonment for between four weeks and three months, while charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.
"Visitors are not allowed to take 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.