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Nineteen immigration offenders arrested (with photo)

     The Immigration Department yesterday (October 19) arrested seven illegal workers and four people suspected of employing them during a territory-wide anti-illegal worker operation codenamed "Twilight".  Another eight people were arrested in an inter-departmental operation.

     Operation Twilight began at 4.30am and ended at 1pm yesterday. Immigration Task Force officers raided seven target locations in various districts including restaurants, a congee store and residential buildings. Seven illegal workers and four employers were arrested. The illegal workers comprised three men and four women aged from 22 to 49. Among them, one woman was suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Two men and two women, whose ages ranged from 51 to 56, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

     During a separate joint Immigration Department/Police/Labour Department operation codenamed "Champion" that began at 9am and ended at 3.45pm yesterday, enforcement officers raided 11 target locations in Sheung Shui districts. Six male illegal workers with ages ranging from 20 to 47, and two male employers aged 24 and 34, were arrested.

     "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 also warned that it was 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.

Ends/Thursday, October 20, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:33


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