28 November 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on November 26 and 27 in Sheung Shui District. During the operations, 18 Mainland visitors comprising nine men and nine women aged from 22 to 52 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at San Wan Road, Po Wan Road and Shek Wu Hui Jockey Club Playground in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, skin-care products, daily necessities, food, medicine, vehicle parts and electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 578 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 210 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 1 368 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 210 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending a court hearing and charges were withdrawn for another nine people.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.