Eighteen immigration offenders arrested

11 Nov 2015

The Immigration Department mounted a series of territory-wide enforcement operations including joint operations with other law enforcement agencies, codenamed "Champion" and "Windsand", yesterday (November 10) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 17 illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested.

During the anti-illegal worker operation, officers of the Immigration Task Force raided a factory unit. A male illegal worker aged 21 was arrested. He was a holder of a recognisance form, which prohibits employment, and he was also suspected of using and being in possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards.

During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided five target locations including a shop, restaurants and residential flats under renovation in the Central, Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan districts. Seven illegal workers and one employer were arrested. The seven illegal workers comprised five men and two women aged 24 to 40. Among them, three men were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit employment. One man aged 49 was suspected of employing the illegal workers.

During operation "Windsand", nine Mainland visitors comprising three men and six women aged 23 to 64 were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at San Wan Road and Po Wan Road in Sheung Shui. The goods included milk powder, food, daily necessities, skin-care products, mobile phones and vehicle components.

Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 2,571 Mainlanders and 15 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 222 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay while the remaining 2,348 people were repatriated and one is under investigation. Of those prosecuted, 211 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to three months, one is pending court hearing, and charges were withdrawn for the other 10 people.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 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 warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged identity card. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

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.