Immigration offenders arrested

5 November 2014

The Immigration Department (ImmD) is highly concerned about the resale of smart phones locally for profit by suspected illegal workers, who have set up street stalls in Hong Kong to assist in the purchase of smart phones. To combat these activities, the ImmD conducted a series of enforcement operations against illegal employment yesterday (November 4), which included a joint operation with the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) codenamed "Champion". In the operations, three male Mainlanders aged 26 to 33 were arrested on suspicion of breaching their conditions of stay at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay and IFC Mall in Central. A local man aged 35 was also arrested as a suspected employer. Since October 2014, similar operations jointly mounted with the HKPF have been conducted at various locations in Central, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Kowloon Tong. To date, a total of 13 Mainland visitors comprising 10 men and three women aged 29 to 37 have been arrested on suspicion of breaching their conditions of stay. One local man and one local woman, aged 35 and 65 respectively, were arrested as suspected employers of the illegal workers. 

"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 also 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.