Thirty-three immigration offenders arrested

11 Aug 2015

A territory-wide enforcement operation codenamed "Twilight" and a joint operation codenamed "Powerplayer" were mounted by the Immigration Department and other law enforcement agencies yesterday (August 10) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 27 illegal workers and six suspected employers were arrested.

During operation "Twilight", officers of the Immigration Task Force raided nine target locations including restaurants, a Buddhist amulet shop, residential flats and offices. Four illegal workers were arrested. The four illegal workers comprised three men and one woman aged from 21 to 43.

During operation "Powerplayer", enforcement officers raided 15 target locations including recycling depots, a construction site, a farm and a plant nursery in Lok Ma Chau, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long and Pat Heung. Twenty-three illegal workers and six employers were arrested. The 23 illegal workers comprised 20 men and three women aged from 21 to 47. Among them, 18 men were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. In addition, four male and two female employers aged from 39 to 85 were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

"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 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.