6 July 2016
The Immigration Department mounted a series of territory-wide enforcement operations, including operations codenamed "Twilight" and "Swordfish", on July 4 and yesterday (July 5) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 10 illegal workers and seven suspected employers were arrested.
During operation "Twilight" conducted on July 4 and yesterday, ImmD investigators raided 19 target locations including a restaurant, an office, a hair salon, a grocery store, a flower shop, a dish cleaning centre, a warehouse and a residential flat under renovation. Six illegal workers and four employers were arrested. The six illegal workers comprising three men and three women aged 23 to 48 were arrested. Among them, one man was suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Two men and two women aged 26 to 50 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.
During operation "Swordfish" conducted yesterday, ImmD investigators raided 26 target locations including a beauty salon, a grocery market, a restaurant, an office, a shop, a residential flat under renovation, a laundry and a bar and 79 identity checks were conducted. During investigations, four illegal workers and three employers were arrested in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Shau Kei Wan and Discovery Bay. The four female illegal workers were aged 32 to 58. Among them, one Vietnamese woman 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. The arrestee was also suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. In addition, one man and two women aged 37 to 50 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.
"Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him shall be guilty of an offence. Also, visitors are not allowed to take up 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, 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 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.