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Associate of employment agency convicted of overcharging foreign domestic helper

03 July 2019

Eastern Court


The Labour Department (LD) crackdown on employment agencies overcharging foreign domestic helpers has netted another violator of the law that limits the placement fee to one-tenth of their first month's salary.

An associate of Philip-Indonesian Helpers Employment Limited, which had earlier been fined for overcharging, was found guilty of the same offense at Eastern Magistrates' Court on June 28 and fined HK$8,000.


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This completes the case that started in October 2018 when the Employment Agencies Administration (EAA) of the Labour Department (LD) started receiving complaints from nine domestic helpers claiming that Philip-Indonesian Helpers Employment Limited, located in North Point, charged them excessive commission. 

Investigators found enough evidence to prosecute Philip-Indonesian and filed cases against both the licensee for overcharging the nine helpers, and an associate working for it for overcharging another one.


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As a result, Philip-Indonesian Helpers Employment Limited, the licensee, was convicted at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts for overcharging the nine FDHs and fined a total of $84,000. The Court also ordered the agency to refund the excess amount, which totalled $60,297, to the helpers who were overcharged

The conviction of the agency's associate came later.
      
According to the law, a licensee or an associate of a licensee in respect of an EA, or a person purporting to act as such a licensee or associate, is not allowed to collect from a job seeker any fees or charges other than the prescribed commission, which is an amount not exceeding 10 per cent of the first month's salary of the job seeker upon successful placement.
      
In a press statement, the LD reminded employment agencies to operate in full compliance with the law and the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies at all times.


"Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and/or revocation of licence. The Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2018, effective since February 9, 2018, has raised the maximum penalty for overcharging job seekers to a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years," it added. 
       
For complaints about unlicensed operation or overcharging by these agencies, please call the EAA at 2115 3667, or visit its office at Unit 906, 9/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, 1 Mong Kok Road, Kowloon. 



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