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Filipina among 13 arrested in anti-illegal work operations

20 November 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The Filpina was among those arrested in Immigration's anti illegal work operations (GIS file photo)
  

A Filipina was among 10 suspected illegal workers arrested by the Immigration Department in operations across Hong Kong from Monday to Thursday this week. Three suspected employers were also arrested, the government said in a press release.

The Filipina was arrested doing illegal work when Immigration officers from the Task Force “Twilight” raided a guesthouse between Nov 16 and Nov 19, reliable source said.

The source did not give personal details of the arrested woman.

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The officers raided 37 target locations including a car park, a food processing factory, a garbage collection depot, guesthouses, an industrial building, massage parlors, residential buildings, restaurants, a shopping mall, a vegetable stall and warehouses.

Two of those arrested were men and eight were women, aged 33 to 55. Three of the women were suspected of using and having forged Hong Kong identity cards.

Meanwhile, two men and one woman aged 27 to 39 were suspected of employing them illegally, the government said.

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In an earlier raid on Nov. 5, seven suspected illegal workers and one suspected employer were arrested in 15 locations, including factories, a food processing factory, recycling sites, residential buildings, a restaurant and a warehouse.

They comprised six men and one woman, aged 40 to 48. One man was suspected of using and having a forged Hong Kong identity card. One woman, aged 46, was suspected of employing the suspected illegal workers.

One of those arrested, a Vietnamese man aged 40, was convicted and jailed by a Shatin magistrate on Nov 7. He was nabbed in a raid on a residential building in Tai Hang while working as a cleaner.

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Immigration officers again conducted raids on 28 other locations from Nov 9 to Nov 11 and netted a total of 17 suspected illegal workers and seven people suspected of hiring them.

The raided sites included a fitness center, a food processing factory, massage parlous, premises under renovation, a recycling site, residential buildings, restaurants, a store and warehouses.

Nine men and eight women, aged 23 to 59, were arrested. Three of the men were holders of recognizance forms, which prohibit them from taking any employment. A man and a woman were also suspected of using and having forged Hong Kong IDs.

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Meanwhile, three men and four women, aged 32 to 63, were suspected of employing the workers.

"Any person who contravenes a condition of stay [imposed on him] shall be guilty of an offense. Also, visitors are not allowed to take employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration,” a spokesman said.

He said offenders are liable to prosecution and face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years in jail upon conviction.

More men than women have been arrested in the raids

“Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties,” the spokesman said.

He warned that it is an offense to use or possess a forged Hong Kong identity card or a Hong Kong ID card issued to another person. Offenders are liable to prosecution and a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years’ imprisonment, he added.

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The spokesman reiterated that it is a serious offense to employ people who are not lawfully employable. He said the maximum penalty for this offense is three years in jail and a fine of $350,000. The employer of an illegal worker will be given an immediate custodial sentence, he said.

Under the existing mechanism, Immigration will screen vulnerable persons, including illegal workers, illegal immigrants, sex workers and foreign domestic helpers who are arrested during any operation to ascertain whether they are human trafficking victims.

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Identified trafficking victims will be given various forms of support and assistance, including urgent intervention, medical services, counseling, shelter, temporary accommodation and other support services.

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