Nepalese and Bangladeshi illegal workers jailed

     Two non-ethnic Chinese illegal workers comprising one Nepalese and one Bangladeshi holding recognisance forms were jailed at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday (July 13).

     During the anti-illegal worker operations mounted on July 11, Immigration Department (ImmD) investigators raided two restaurants in Sha Tin and Wan Chai. One male Nepalese illegal worker and one female Bangladeshi illegal worker aged 23 and 30 respectively were arrested. When intercepted, they were working as dishwashing workers in the restaurants. Upon identity checking, they produced for inspection recognisance forms issued by the ImmD, which prohibit them from taking employment, and further investigation revealed that they were non-refoulement claimants. One of the arrestees was also suspected of using and being in possession of a Hong Kong identity card related to another person. Two employers suspected of employing the two illegal workers were also arrested and the investigations are ongoing.

     The two illegal workers arrested were each charged at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday with taking employment after landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration or while being a person in respect of whom a removal order or deportation order was in force. They were each sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. One of the arrestees was also charged with using an identity card relating to another person and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. All charges are to run concurrently.

     The ImmD spokesman warned that, as stipulated in section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance, illegal immigrants or people who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order are prohibited from taking any employment, whether paid or unpaid, or establishing or joining in any business. Offenders are liable upon conviction 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 warned that it is an offence to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card or a Hong Kong identity card related to another person. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

     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/Thursday, July 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:16