11 Jun 2015
Territory-wide enforcement operations were mounted by the Immigration Department on June 9 and 10 to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 23 illegal workers and five suspected employers were arrested.
On June 10, officers of the Immigration Task Force conducted operation "Twilight" during which 10 target locations including restaurants, a dance centre, a needlework shop, stalls and an exhibition centre were raided. Nine illegal workers and three suspected employers were arrested. The nine illegal workers comprised two men and seven women aged from 27 to 55. Two men and one woman aged from 30 to 51 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.
On June 9, the Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force also mounted a series of joint enforcement operations codenamed "Powerplayer", "Champion" and "Windsand" to combat illegal employment activities.
During operation "Powerplayer", enforcement officers raided four target locations including warehouses and recycling yards in Yuen Long and Pat Heung. Two male illegal workers aged 27 and 50 were arrested. One man aged 42 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.
During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided a laundry factory in Tsing Yi. Three illegal workers and one employer were arrested. The three illegal workers comprised one man and two women aged from 31 to 45. One man aged 55 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.
During operation "Windsand", nine Mainland visitors comprising four men and five women aged from 23 to 66 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Castle Peak Road - San Tin and Kwu Tung Road in Lok Ma Chau. The goods included milk powder, food, red wine, skin-care products and electronic components. Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2 340 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 2 124 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 206 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.
"Visitors are not allowed to take 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," an Immigration Department spokesman said.
The spokesman warned that it is an offence for illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order to take any employment or to establish or join in any business. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment should be applied in such cases.
The spokesman also 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.