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Thirty-one arrested in anti-illegal worker operations

An article published on March 2, 2011 on

"The Immigration Department mounted a series of anti-illegal worker operations yesterday (February 28) and arrested 27 illegal workers and four people suspected of employing them.

During a territory-wide operation codenamed "Twilight", Immigration Task Force Officers raided seven target locations in various districts, including restaurants, a commercial unit under renovation and a residential unit under renovation. The illegal workers comprised seven men and three women aged 25 to 46. One of those arrested held a recognisance form, which prohibits employment.

One woman was suspected ofusing and in possession of a forged Hong Kong identity card. Two men and two women, whose ages ranged from 30 to 54, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

Meanwhile, a joint enforcement operation codenamed "Champion" was mounted by the Immigration Department, Police Force and Labour Department in the New Territories South Region, also to combat illegal employment activities. During the operation, law enforcement officers visited 42 locations in Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan districts and checked the identity documents of 90 people, resulting in the arrest of 17 illegal workers comprising nine men and eight women, aged between 21 and 55.

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 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 Court also revealed that from 2006 to 2009, illegal immigrants and many overstayers lodged torture claims only after they had been arrested for taking up employment, raising suspicion over the veracity of their claims.A deterrent sentence ensures that illegal immigration will become less attractive with the risk of a long jail term.

The spokesman also warned that it was an offence to use or possess 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 was 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/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 was a serious offence to employ someone who was not legally employable, and stating that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence."



Source: HKSAR Government



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