9 February 2015
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" from February 5 to 7 in New Territories North District. During the operations, 55 Mainland visitors comprising 23 men and 32 women aged 20 to 70 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 at San Wan Road, Po Wan Road, Ka Fu Close and areas around Sheung Shui Plaza in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, food, wine, daily necessities, skin-care products, cosmetics, clothes, shoes, mobile phones and other electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1,919 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 213 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 1,706 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 203 out of 213 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for another 10 people.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.