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Thirteen arrested in anti-illegal worker operation

     A territory-wide operation codenamed "Twilight" was mounted by the Immigration Department Task Force yesterday (October 8) to combat illegal employment activities. Eight illegal workers and five people suspected of employing them were arrested.
     During the operation, enforcement officers raided 11 target locations including restaurants, renovation premises, refuse collection points and wet market stalls in various districts. Eight illegal workers were arrested, comprising four men and four women aged 30 to 49. Among them, one man and three women were also suspected of using and being in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Three men and two women, whose ages ranged from 53 to 64, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

     "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 was an offence to use or possess an identity card which relates to another person. 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/Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:30


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