30 December 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force yesterday (December 29) jointly mounted an anti-illegal employment operation codenamed "Windsand" in New Territories North District. During the operation, 17 Mainland visitors comprising seven men and 10 women aged from 18 to 62 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road - San Tin in Lok Ma Chau, as well as Po Wan Road, Ka Fu Close and San Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, red wine, food, skin-care products, shoes, vehicle parts, mobile phones and other electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 723 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 1 513 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 Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 210 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for another 10 people.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.