7 May 2015
The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force jointly mounted a series of anti-illegal employment operations codenamed "Windsand" on May 5 and 6 in New Territories North District. During the operations, nine Mainland visitors comprising five 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 Castle Peak Road - San Tin in Lok Ma Chau, as well as at San Wan Road and Shek Wu Hui Jockey Club Playground in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, red wine, electronic components, daily necessities, cosmetics and skin-care products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 225 Mainlanders and 14 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 216 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay while the remaining 2 009 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 205 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending court hearing, and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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.