Seven persons arrested during anti-overstayer operations

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11th May 2022 – (Hong Kong)  The Immigration Department (ImmD) mounted a territory-wide anti-overstayer operation codenamed “Netfish” today. A total of seven overstayers were arrested.
 
 During the operation, ImmD officers raided over 43 residential buildings. A total of seven overstayers were arrested. The arrested overstayers comprised seven women, aged 27 to 64.
 
An ImmD spokesman said, “Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him 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, an overstayer, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order 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 Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment should be applied in such cases.”
 
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, an overstayer, a person who is the subject of a removal order or a deportation order 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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