18 February 2015
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on February 16 and 17 in New Territories North District. During the operations, eight Mainland visitors comprising four men and four women aged 30 to 57 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at areas around Man Tin Cheung Park in Lok Ma Chau, as well as at San Wan Road and Ka Fu Close in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, food, red wine, daily necessities, skin-care products and electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 951 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 1 738 people were repatriated. Of those prosecuted, 203 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months while charges were withdrawn for 10 people.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.