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Twenty-six immigration offenders arrested

     Territory-wide enforcement operations codenamed "Twilight" and "Champion" were mounted by the Immigration Department, the Police Force and the Labour Department yesterday (April 14) to combat illegal employment activities. A total of 20 illegal workers and six suspected employers were arrested.
     During operation "Twilight", immigration officers raided three kinds of target locations including a private tutor shop, hawker stalls and a foot massage parlour. Two female illegal workers aged 13 and 45 were arrested. Three women, aged 33 to 43, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

     During operation "Champion", which was a joint operation mounted by the Immigration Department, the Police Force and the Labour Department, enforcement officers raided 20 target locations including warehouses, recycling depots and second-hand trading stalls in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Lok Ma Chau, Fanling and Ta Kwu Ling. Eighteen illegal workers were arrested, comprising 17 men and one woman aged 20 to 56. Among them, six were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. Moreover, three men, aged 41 to 66, were suspected of employing the illegal workers. All the arrestees 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 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 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/Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:02


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