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Six immigration offenders arrested

     The Immigration Department today (September 1) mounted a territory-wide anti-illegal worker operation codenamed "Twilight".  As at 4.30pm, five illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested. The operation is still going on.

     Operation "Twilight" began at 9.15am today. Immigration Task Force officers raided nine target locations in various districts including restaurants, elderly homes and premises under renovation or decoration. The illegal workers are all males aged between 20 and 44, whilst the suspected employer is a 50-year-old man.

     During the operation, one illegal worker was found working inside a residential premises under renovation in Tsim Sha Tsui.  Upon interception, the man attempted to flee and resisted arrest. During the scuffle, three Immigration Task Force members and the illegal worker suffered minor injuries. The illegal worker was eventually subdued and arrested for breach of condition of stay and resisting or obstructing the members of Immigration Department. All injured persons were sent to hospital for treatment.

     "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 Immigration Department spokesman said.

     The spokesman warned that it is an offence for any person who assaults, resists or obstructs any member of the Immigration Service acting in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites any person to assault, resist or obstruct any such member of the Service, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine at level 1, i.e. $2,000, and to imprisonment for six months.

     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.

Ends/Thursday, September 1, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:09


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