26 November 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on November 24 and 25 in New Territories North District. During the operations, 17 Mainland visitors comprising seven men and 10 women aged from 25 to 68 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road - San Tin and Kwu Tung Road in Lok Ma Chau. The goods included milk powder, daily necessities, food, skin-care products, medicine, red wine and clothes.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 560 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 209 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay and one is under investigation, while the remaining 1 350 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 209 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for another nine people.
"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. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties. The Immigration Department will continue to take enforcement action with related law enforcement departments against the offences concerned," an Immigration Department spokesman said.