24 December 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on December 22, 23 and 24 in New Territories North District. During the operations, 56 Mainland visitors comprising 29 men and 27 women aged from 29 to 72 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road - San Tin and areas around Manor Garden and Man Tin Cheung Park in Lok Ma Chau, as well as Ka Fu Close, San Wan Road and Advanced Technology Centre in Sheung Shui. The goods included food, milk powder, wine, cosmetics, skin-care products, daily necessities, shoes, mobile phones and other electronic products.
The operation is still in progress.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 706 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 and 16 are under investigation, while the remaining 1 480 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 210 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for another 10 people.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.