15 April 2015
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on April 14 and 15 in New Territories North District. During the operations, 33 Mainland visitors comprising 12 men and 21 women aged 31 to 60 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, and at Po Wan Road, San Wan Road, Choi Fai Street and Advanced Technology Centre in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, red wine, skin-care products, daily necessities, food and electronic components.
The operation is still in progress.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 103 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 215 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay and 25 are under investigation, while the remaining 1 863 people were repatriated. Of those prosecuted, 205 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months while charges were withdrawn for 10 people.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.