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Twelve immigration offenders arrested

     Territory-wide enforcement operations codenamed "Twilight" and "Windsand" were mounted by the Immigration Department and the Police yesterday (April 3) to combat illegal employment activities. Eight illegal workers and four suspected employers were arrested.

     During operation "Twilight", immigration officers raided 11 target locations including restaurants, an office, a residential building and a hotel. Four illegal workers were arrested comprising three men and one woman aged from 26 to 40. Three men and one woman, whose ages ranged from 27 to 54, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

     During operation "Windsand", which was a joint operation between the Immigration Department and the Police, four Mainland visitors comprising three men and one woman, aged 37 to 47, were arrested for breaching their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading at Ka Fu Close in Sheung Shui. The goods involved wine, milk powder, skin care products, baby supplements, nutritional supplements and diapers.

     Since September 2012, a number of "Windsand" operations have been conducted, during which a total of 1 170 Mainlanders and 13 Hong Kong residents were arrested for suspected involvement in parallel goods trading. Of these, 179 Mainlanders were prosecuted for breaching conditions of stay and one is under investigation, while the remaining 990 people were repatriated. Among those prosecuted, 169 out of the 179 were sentenced to imprisonment for between four weeks and two months, two are pending a court hearing, and charges were withdrawn for the other eight people.

     "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 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/Friday, April 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:50


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