Filipino among 8 arrested for suspected illegal employment

Five suspected illegal workers, including a Filipino, have been arrested in the past four days in operations mounted by the Immigration Department across Hong Kong to ferret out people who are illegally employed.

An Immigration press release said three suspected employers were also arrested in the anti-illegal worker operations codenamed “Twilight” conducted from Oct 18 to 21.

Task force officers raided 81 target locations, including a container yard, factories, food and beverage areas, a massage parlor, premises under renovation, a residential building, restaurants and retail shops.

No further details were available about the arrested Filipino.

The suspected illegal workers comprised three men and two women aged 24 to 50. Two men were holders of recognizance forms, which prohibit them from taking any job.

Two men and one woman, aged 47 to 67, were suspected of employing the illegal workers.

The department said any person who violates a condition of stay imposed on him breaks the law. Also, visitors are not allowed to take up employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without permission from 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. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties, the department said.

The Immigration Ordinance says an illegal immigrant, a person subject to removal or deportation, an overstayer or a person who has been refused permission to land, is prohibited from taking any employment, paid or unpaid.

He is also prohibited from establishing or joining any business. Offenders are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years’ imprisonment.

It is a serious offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable, according to the Immigration Ordinance.

The maximum penalty for a person who employs someone illegally has been significantly increased from a fine of $350,000 and three years’ imprisonment to a fine of $500,000 and 10 years’ imprisonment to reflect the gravity of the offense.

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