Hong Kong resident employer and two Pakistani illegal workers jailed

12 August 2016

A Hong Kong resident employer who employed illegal workers and two Pakistani illegal workers holding recognisance forms were jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday (August 11).
  
During an anti-illegal employment operation mounted on March 8, officers of the Immigration Department (ImmD) raided a restaurant in Tsing Yi and two female Mainlanders were found. They were arrested for taking up dishwashing jobs. They were charged on March 10 for breaching of condition of stay and both were sentenced to two months' imprisonment. The employer pleaded guilty to the two charges of being an employer of a person who is not lawfully employable and was sentenced to four months' imprisonment in total at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday.
 
Furthermore, during anti-illegal worker operations mounted on August 8, ImmD investigators found two Pakistani men aged 26 and 36 in Tsim Sha Tsui and Sha Tin respectively. They were arrested for conducting garbage collecting work. Upon identity checking, they produced for inspection recognisance forms issued by the ImmD, which prohibit them from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that they were non-refoulement claimants. 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 or while being a person in respect of whom a removal order or deportation order was in force. They pleaded guilty to the charge and were each sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.
  
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.