Forty-two arrested during anti-illegal employment operation "Windsand"

     The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force yesterday (January 3) jointly mounted an anti-illegal employment operation codenamed "Windsand" in Sheung Shui, mobilising 66 immigration officers and 47 police officers. During the operation, 40 Mainland visitors, 31 male and nine female, aged between 18 and 62, were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading in Advanced Technology Centre, Choi Fat Street and Choi Yuen Road. Furthermore, one male Hong Kong resident and one female Hong Kong resident, aged 30 and 45 respectively, were arrested on suspicion of employing illegal workers. Officers also seized cartons of baby products, health food products and cosmetics during the operation.
     From September to December 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations were conducted by the department. A total of 471 Mainlanders and eight Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Eighty-four Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 387 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 76 out of 84 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to two months. Court hearing is still pending for one person, and charges were withdrawn for another seven.

     "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. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties. The Immigration Department will continue to take enforcement actions with related law enforcement departments against the offences concerned," an Immigration Department spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, January 4, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:25