Six Vietnamese and one Bangladeshi illegal workers jailed

16 May 2016

Six Vietnamese and one Bangladeshi illegal workers were jailed at Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts and Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on May 13 and 14.
 
In an anti-illegal employment operation mounted on May 11 and 12, officers of the Immigration Department (ImmD) raided four target locations including restaurants and food processing factories in Sham Shui Po, Hung Hom and Tuen Mun. Four male and two female Vietnamese workers aged 23 to 39 were found cleaning or preparing food in the kitchens of the restaurants or factories. Upon identity checking, three men and one woman were discovered to be non-refoulement claimants, and produced for inspection recognisance forms issued by the ImmD, which prohibit them from taking employment. Furthermore, one man and one woman were found to be illegal immigrants. The investigators also seized forged Hong Kong identity cards, copies of forged Hong Kong identity cards which bore the portraits of arrestees, and a Hong Kong identity card related to another person at the scene. 
 
During the investigation, all the arrestees admitted to taking up employment illegally to earn money. They also admitted variously to obtaining forged Hong Kong identity cards, copies of forged Hong Kong identity cards or a Hong Kong identity card related to another person for job seeking, and then presenting it for a job interview.
 
The six arrestees were each charged by the Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts and Kowloon city Magistrates' Courts on May 13 and 14 with 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 or deportation order was in force. They pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. They also pleaded guilty variously to the use or possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards, copies of forged Hong Kong identity cards or a Hong Kong identity card related to another person, and were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 12 to 15 months. All charges are to run concurrently.
 
Meanwhile, the ImmD received a referral from the Hong Kong Police Force earlier this month to further investigate an illegal employment case. During an anti-illegal employment operation in Tuen Mun, enforcement officers arrested a male Bangladeshi worker, aged 51, who was found conveying some construction waste. Upon identity checking, he was found to be a non-refoulement claimant and holder of a recognisance form issued by the ImmD, which prohibits him from taking employment. A Hong Kong identity card related to another person was unearthed in his personal belonging.
 
The Bangladeshi illegal worker, who appeared at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on May 14, was charged with taking up employment in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration and while being a person in respect of whom a removal order was in force. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. He also pleaded guilty to the use of a Hong Kong identity card related to another person and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. 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 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.