Ten immigration offenders arrested

     The Immigration Department today (March 18) mounted a territory-wide anti-illegal workers operation codenamed "Twilight". By 6pm today, eight illegal workers and two suspected employers were arrested during the operation.

     Operation "Twilight" began at 10am today. Immigration Task Force officers raided eight target locations including restaurants, Hong Kong style cafe, food stalls, market stalls and a flat under renovation. The eight illegal workers comprised four men and four women aged between 25 and 52. Among them, two men and two women were suspected of using forged Hong Kong identity cards. One man and one woman, whose ages ranged from 44 to 47, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

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

     "Visitors are not allowed to take 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 to possess or use 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/Monday, March 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:53