Two non-ethnic Chinese illegal workers jailed

22 August 2016

Two non-ethnic Chinese illegal workers comprising one Vietnamese illegal immigrant and one Indian holding a recognisance form were jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts on August 19.
During a joint anti-illegal worker operation with the Labour Department on August 17, enforcement officers raided a restaurant in Tai Kok Tsui. One Vietnamese female illegal worker aged 38 was arrested. When intercepted, she was cleaning dishes in the restaurant. Upon identity checking, she was found to be an illegal immigrant. Two employers suspected of employing the illegal worker were arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
In addition, Immigration Department (ImmD) investigators received a referral from the Hong Kong Police Force earlier in August to further investigate an illegal employment case. Enforcement officers arrested an Indian male worker, aged 33, conveying goods outside an industrial building in Kwun Tong. Upon identity checking, he was found to be a holder of a recognisance form issued by ImmD, which prohibits him from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that he was a non-refoulement claimant. One employer suspected of employing the illegal worker was arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
The two illegal workers were charged at Shatin Magistrates' Courts on August 19 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 pleaded guilty to the charges and 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.