Indonesian illegal worker jailed 15 months for doing odd jobs and overstaying, employer also arrested

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28th November 2022 – (Hong Kong) An Indonesian illegal worker was jailed by Shatin Magistrates’ Courts on 25th November.

During a joint operation conducted by the Immigration Department (ImmD) and the Hong Kong Police Force codenamed “Champion” on 22nd November, ImmD investigators raided a food stall in Yau Ma Tei. An Indonesian female, aged 35, was arrested while working as an odd-job worker and being an overstayer. An employer suspected of employing the illegal worker was also arrested and an investigation is ongoing.

The illegal worker was charged at Shatin Magistrates’ Courts on 25th November with taking employment while being a person who, having been given permission to land in Hong Kong, had remained in Hong Kong in breach of her limit of stay imposed in relation to the permission. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. Meanwhile, she was also charged with one count of overstaying in Hong Kong and was sentenced to 10 days’ imprisonment. All sentences are to run concurrently, making for a total of 15 months’ imprisonment.

The ImmD spokesman warned that, 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.

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