Immigration Department sweep leads to 14 arrests in crackdown on illegal employment

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19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Immigration Department (ImmD) has successfully concluded a series of enforcement operations across the territory, leading to multiple arrests. The operations, named “Greenlane,” “Lightshadow,” “Twilight,” along with joint efforts “Champion” and “Windsand” with the Hong Kong Police Force, spanned from 15th April to 18th April.

During these operations, ImmD Task Force officers targeted 43 locations, including premises under renovation, restaurants, and a wet market. The crackdown led to the arrest of five suspected illegal workers and one employer. The arrested individuals included four men and one woman, ranging in age from 32 to 70. Notably, three of the men and the woman were found to be holders of recognisance forms, legally prohibiting them from employment. Moreover, the woman faced additional charges for allegedly using and possessing a forged Hong Kong identity card.

In the Western District, operation “Champion” intensified the crackdown with raids on 80 locations, resulting in the arrest of seven workers and one employer. The workers, two men and five women aged between 23 and 51, included one male recognisance form holder.

An ImmD spokesman emphasised the legal repercussions of breaching immigration laws: “Violating a condition of stay is a punishable offence, and employing illegal workers can lead to severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment,” he stated. He further highlighted that aiding and abetting such offences are equally punishable under the law.

The operations underscore the ImmD’s stringent measures against illegal employment. Employers are urged to rigorously verify the legal status of potential employees to avoid substantial penalties. The revised Immigration Ordinance imposes a maximum fine of HK$500,000 and up to 10 years in prison for employing illegal workers, reflecting the seriousness of these offences.

Additionally, the ImmD is committed to identifying and assisting victims of trafficking in persons (TIP). During operations, arrested individuals undergo screening to detect any indicators of trafficking, with those identified receiving comprehensive support and services.