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Filipina torture claimant jailed 15 months for illegal work

25 May 2021

By The SUN 

Immigration officers during an anti-illegal work operation on May 20

A 42-year-old Filipina torture claimant was jailed for 15 months by a Tuen Mun magistrate on May 22 for working illegally as a restaurant dishwasher. 

The arrest of the Filipina came as the Immigration Department mounted a series of anti-illegal worker operations on May 17 and 20 that netted a total of nine suspected illegal workers and four suspected employers. 

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The identity and other particulars of the jailed woman were not revealed by Immigration due to privacy concerns, the department’s information office said in a telephone enquiry.

A government press release said the Filipina was charged in Tuen Mun Court with landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and staying without authority from the Immigration director or while being a person on whom a removal or deportation order was in force.


The woman pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced by Magistrate Li Chi-ho to 15 months’ imprisonment.

An information officer said the woman’s employer was also being investigated and would be prosecuted for the illegal employment.

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The press release said the woman was arrested while working as a dishwasher in a restaurant in Tai Po during a raid by Immigration officers on May 20.

The officers checked the woman’s identity and found out she had recognizance form issued by Immigration that prohibits her from taking employment. Further investigation showed she was applying for non-refoulement as a torture claimant.

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In the other anti-illegal operations, officers raided 68 target locations including food and beverage areas, factories, a garbage collection depot, massage parlors, residential buildings, restaurants, a retail shop and a warehouse.

Eight suspected illegal workers comprising a man and seven women aged 30 to 55 were arrested. Two men and a woman aged 44 to 46, who were suspected of employing the illegal workers were also arrested.


A combined Immigration/police operation codenamed “Champion,” raided a loading/ unloading bay inside the Hong Kong International Airport cargo terminal and arrested a male suspected illegal worker and his employer.

The man, aged 29, was a holder of a recognizance form, which prohibits him from taking any job. A 22-year-old man suspected of employing him was also arrested.

An Immigration spokesman warned that illegal immigrants or people who are subject to a removal or deportation order are prohibited from taking any employment paid or unpaid, or setting up 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 said. 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. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for three years and a fine of $350,000.


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