28 June 2016
The Immigration Department (ImmD) mounted a series of territory-wide enforcement operations, including an operation codenamed "Twilight", and joint operations with the Hong Kong Police Force and the Labour Department codenamed "Champion" yesterday (June 27) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of three overstayers, four illegal workers and two suspected employers were arrested.
During operation "Twilight", Immigration Task Force officers raided six target locations including an office, a flower shop, a beauty centre, a residential flat under renovation and a shop under renovation. Two female illegal workers aged 21 and 26 respectively were arrested.
During operation "Champion", enforcement officers raided 14 target locations including restaurants and residential flats in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei districts. Three overstayers comprising one man and two women aged between 27 and 34 were arrested. Meanwhile, two illegal workers comprising one man and one woman aged 36 and 44 were arrested. Two employers comprising one man and one woman aged 53 and 60 respectively were suspected of employing the illegal workers.
"Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him shall be guilty of an offence. Also, 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," an ImmD spokesman said.
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.