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Twenty-three arrested in anti-illegal worker operation

     A joint enforcement operation codenamed "Powerplayer" was mounted by the Immigration Department, the Police Force and the Labour Department yesterday (July 29) in the Kowloon West Region to combat illegal employment activities. During the operation, 19 illegal workers and four people suspected of employing them were arrested.

     During the operation, enforcement officers raided 125 targeted locations including restaurants, food stalls, premises under renovation, garbage collection points, temporary hawker stalls and retail shops. Nineteen illegal workers were arrested, comprising 16 men and three women aged between 21 and 41. Among them, three men were suspected of being in possession of and using a forged Hong Kong identity card, and 11 men and one woman were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit employment. Three men and one woman, whose ages ranged from 20 to 69, were suspected of employing the illegal workers. All the illegal workers were detained for questioning.

     "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 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 warned that it is an offence for illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order to take any employment or to establish or join in any business. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment should be applied in such cases.

     The spokesman 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, July 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:28


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