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27 persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations

HK

27 persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations
HK

HK

27 persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations

2024-06-21 19:02 Last Updated At:19:18

Immigration department conducts territory-wide operations arresting illegal workers and employers, warns of severe penalties for offenders. task force continues crackdown on immigration offences.

The Immigration Department (ImmD) mounted a series of territory-wide anti-illegal worker operations codenamed "Contribute" and "Twilight", and joint operations with the Hong Kong Police Force codenamed "Champion", "Powerplayer" and "Windsand", for four consecutive days from June 17 to yesterday (June 20). A total of 16 suspected illegal workers, three suspected employers, one suspected aider and abettor, three overstayers and four illegal immigrants were arrested.

During the anti-illegal worker operations, ImmD Task Force officers raided 19 target locations including premises under renovation, restaurants and a retail shop. Seven suspected illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested. The arrested suspected illegal workers comprised five men and two women, aged 23 to 44. Among the arrested persons, two men and one woman were holders of recognisance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. One man, aged 63, was suspected of employing the illegal workers and was also arrested.

During operation "Champion" and "Powerplayer", enforcement officers raided 118 target locations in Eastern, New Territories North and Western districts. Nine suspected illegal workers, two suspected employers, one suspected aider and abettor, three overstayers and four illegal immigrants were arrested. The arrested suspected illegal workers comprised six men and three women, aged 27 to 59. Two men, aged 48 and 64, were suspected of employing the illegal workers, were arrested. One man, aged 73, who was suspected of aiding and abetting a person who breached the condition of stay in Hong Kong, was arrested. The arrested overstayers comprised three women, aged 42 to 51. The arrested illegal immigrants comprised three men and one woman, aged 27 to 57. Among them, nine suspected illegal workers, two suspected employers, one suspected aider and abettor and two overstayers were handled by the ImmD.

An ImmD spokesman said, "Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him or her shall be guilty of an offence. Also, 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. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties."

The spokesman warned, "As stipulated in section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance, an illegal immigrant, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order, an overstayer or a person who was refused permission to land is 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 spokesman reiterated that it is a serious offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable. Under the Immigration Ordinance, the maximum penalty for an employer employing a person who is not lawfully employable, i.e. an illegal immigrant, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order, an overstayer or a person who was refused permission to land, 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 such offences. The director, manager, secretary, partner, etc, of the company concerned may also bear criminal liability. The High Court has laid down sentencing guidelines that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence.

According to the court sentencing, employers must take all practicable steps to determine whether a person is lawfully employable prior to employment. Apart from inspecting a prospective employee's identity card, the employer has the explicit duty to make enquiries regarding the person and ensure that the answers would not cast any reasonable doubt concerning the lawful employability of the person. The court will not accept failure to do so as a defence in proceedings. It is also an offence if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker's valid travel document if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card. Offenders are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of $150,000 and to imprisonment for one year. In that connection, the spokesmanreminded all employers not to defy the law by employing illegal workers. The ImmD will continue to take resolute enforcement action to combat such offences.

Under the existing mechanism, the ImmD will, as a standard procedure, conduct an initial screening of vulnerable persons, including illegal workers, illegal immigrants, sex workers and foreign domestic helpers, who are arrested during any operation with a view to ascertaining whether they are trafficking in persons (TIP) victims. When any TIP indicator is revealed in the initial screening, the ImmD officers will conduct a full debriefing and identification by using a standardised checklist to ascertain the presence of TIP elements, such as threats and coercion in the recruitment phase and the nature of exploitation. Identified TIP victims will be provided with various forms of support and assistance, including urgent intervention, medical services, counselling, shelter or temporary accommodation and other supporting services. The ImmD calls on TIP victims to report crimes to the relevant departments immediately.

27 persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations  Source: HKSAR Government Press Releases

27 persons arrested during anti-illegal worker operations Source: HKSAR Government Press Releases

HKSAR Government highly concerned about Microsoft system outage

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is highly concerned about the massive technical outage of Microsoft system today (July 19) and has assigned the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration (DCS) to monitor the situation. The DCS has asked government departments to closely keep in view developments under their purview and be prepared to make prompt response as well as immediate reports where necessary. The DCS will also give instructions as necessary.

The operation of government systems has remained normal and no incident report is received from departments in relation to their systems (including critical infrastructures under their purview). As regards individual airlines whose systems are affected by the Microsoft system outage, the Hong Kong International Airport has immediately activated the emergency response system to minimise the impact of the incident on travellers.

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has communicated with Microsoft and urged the company to release solution to the public and provide support to affected users as soon as possible.

Source: AI-generated images

Source: AI-generated images

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