25 Aug 2015
A territory-wide enforcement operation codenamed "Twilight" and a series of joint enforcement operations codenamed "Champion" and "Windsand" were mounted by the Immigration Department and other law enforcement agencies yesterday (August 24) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of nine illegal workers and two suspected employers were arrested.
During operation "Twilight", officers of the Immigration Task Force raided three target locations including restaurants and a residential flat under renovation. One female illegal worker aged 41 was arrested. One man aged 43 was suspected of employing the illegal worker.
During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided five target locations including restaurants and market stalls in Western district. One female illegal worker aged 40 was arrested. One woman aged 71 was suspected of employing the illegal worker.
During operation "Windsand", seven Mainland visitors comprising three men and four women aged 34 to 68 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Ka Fu Close and Po Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods involved milk powder, food, daily necessities and electronic products.
Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2,463 Mainlanders and 15 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 219 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 2,244 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 209 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, while charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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 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.