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Seventeen arrested during anti-illegal employment operation "Windsand"

     The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Police Force today (March 14) jointly mounted an anti-illegal employment operation codenamed "Windsand" in Sheung Shui district. During the operation, 17 Mainland visitors, 11 male and six female, aged between 21 and 48, were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading in Choi Fai Street, Po Shek Wu Road, San Wan Road and Ka Fu Close in Sheung Shui. Officers also seized large amounts of milk powder, daily necessities, cosmetics, baby food, diapers and medicines during the operation.

     All the arrestees were detained for questioning. The operation is still in progress.

     Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted by the department. A total of 630 Mainlanders and 10 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. One hundred Mainlanders were prosecuted for breach of conditions of stay, while the remaining 530 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 92 out of 100 were sentenced to imprisonment for four weeks to two months. One case was adjourned, and charges were withdrawn for another seven people.

     "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/Thursday, March 14, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:46


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