31 December 2014
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force yesterday (December 30) jointly mounted an anti-illegal employment operation codenamed "Windsand" in New Territories North District. During the operation, 12 Mainland visitors comprising eight men and four women aged 27 to 73 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Kwu Tung Road in Lok Ma Chau and at San Wan Road and Po Shek Wu Road in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, food, skin-care products, mobile phones and other electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 735 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 two are under investigation, while the remaining 1 523 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 200 out of 210 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, while charges were withdrawn for another 10 people.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.