Two Vietnamese illegal workers jailed

5 July 2016

Two Vietnamese illegal workers holding Immigration recognisance forms were jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday (July 4).
 
During an anti-illegal worker operation mounted on June 30, Immigration Department (ImmD) investigators found a female Vietnamese worker aged 50 working as a dishwashing worker in a dance club in Tsim Sha Tsui. Upon identity checking, she produced for inspection a recognisance form issued by ImmD, which prohibits her from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that she was a non-refoulement claimant. In addition, an employer suspected of employing the illegal worker was arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
      
Furthermore, during a joint operation with the Hong Kong Police Force codenamed "Champion" conducted on April 13, enforcement officers raided a logistics centre in Kwai Chung. A male Vietnamese worker aged 44 was found operating a pallet truck. Upon identity checking, he produced for inspection a recognisance form issued by ImmD, which prohibits him from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that he was a non-refoulement claimant. Investigation on the suspected employer is ongoing.
 
The two illegal workers arrested were each charged at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday with taking employment after landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration while being a person in respect of whom a removal order or deportation order was in force. After the trial, they were sentenced to 15 months' and 21 months' imprisonment respectively. 
 
The ImmD spokesman warned that as stipulated in section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance, illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order are prohibited from taking any employment, whether paid or unpaid, or establishing or joining in any business. Offenders are liable upon conviction 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 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.