Hong Kong resident employer jailed for employing illegal worker

21 June 2016

A Hong Kong resident employer who employed an illegal worker was jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday (June 20).

During an anti-illegal employment operation mounted on April 7, 2016, officers of the Immigration Department (ImmD) raided a restaurant in Mong Kok and one Indonesian female holding a recognisance form issued by the ImmD, which prohibits the holder from taking up employment, was found. She was arrested for taking up a cleaning job. Further investigation revealed that she was a non-refoulement claimant. She was charged on April 9 for 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. She was sentenced to 15 months and two weeks' imprisonment. The employer pleaded guilty to the charge of being an employer of a person who is not lawfully employable and was sentenced to two months' imprisonment at Shatin Magistrates' Court yesterday.

The ImmD 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.