27 January 2015
The Immigration Department arrested eight illegal workers and five suspected employers during a territory-wide anti-illegal workers operation codenamed "Twilight" on January 25 and 26.
During the two-day operation, Immigration Task Force officers raided eight target locations including a restaurant, a food stall, garbage collection points, a massage centre, a warehouse, a salon and a food processing centre. The eight illegal workers comprised two men and six women aged 32 to 51. Among them, one man and one woman were suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Five employers comprising two men and three women aged 47 to 72 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.
"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.
The spokesman warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years' imprisonment.
The spokesman appealed to employers not to employ illegal workers, warning that it is an offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable. The maximum penalty is a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years. It is also an offence if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker's identity card or, if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card, his or her valid travel document. The maximum penalty for failing to do so is a fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for one year. To deter unlawful employment, the High Court laid down sentencing guidelines in 2004 reaffirming that it is a serious offence to employ someone who is not legally employable, and stating that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence.