22 July 2016
Two Pakistani illegal workers holding recognisance forms were jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday (July 21).
During a joint anti-illegal worker operation with the Hong Kong Police Force mounted on July 18, enforcement officers raided multiple locations including restaurants, a fruit shop, factory units and a loading area. Six illegal workers were arrested. Among them, two male Pakistani illegal workers aged 26 and 41 were conveying goods. Upon identity checking, they produced for inspection recognisance forms issued by the Immigration Department (ImmD), which prohibit them from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that they were non-refoulement claimants. An employer suspected of employing the two illegal workers was arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
The two illegal workers arrested were each charged at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday with taking employment after landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration or while being a person in respect of whom a removal order or deportation order was in force. They were each sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.
The ImmD spokesman warned that, as stipulated in section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance, illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order are prohibited from taking any employment, whether paid or unpaid, or establishing or joining in any business. Offenders are liable upon conviction 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.