3 Pinays arrested in raid on HK island resto

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Hong Kong

Immigration agents raided a restaurant in Central and caught three Filipino women illegally working there, the Immigration Department (ImmD) said this afternoon.

The ImmD said in a statement that the three women —one asylum seeker and two domestic workers—were caught during the raid on the restaurant on Tuesday (April 24). The ImmD did not identify the restaurant.

“Three female Filipino illegal workers, aged 34 to 52, were arrested. Upon identity checking, one of them produced for inspection a recognisance form issued by the ImmD, which prohibits her from taking employment,” the statement said.

“Further investigation revealed that she was a non-refoulement claimant. The other women were foreign domestic helpers (FDHs),” it added.

The Immigration Department also said that its officers also arrested the alleged employer of the three illegal workers and “the investigation is ongoing.”

An ImmD spokesman warned that foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) caught working illegally in Hong Kong can be imprisoned to up to two years and fined up to $50,000.

An FDH should only do the work and reside at the contractual address stipulated in their contract, as approved by the Director of Immigration, the spokesman said.

Offenders are liable to criminal prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for two years. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution, he added.

The ImmD said the three arrested Filipino women were charged before the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts yesterday (April 26).

“They pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from six weeks to 14 months,” the ImmD said.

The immigration spokesman also warned that illegal immigrants or those who are the subject of a removal order or a deportation order are prohibited from taking any employment, whether paid or unpaid.

Convicted offenders could face up to three years’ imprisonment and $50,000 in fines, the spokesman said.

He added that employers of illegal workers could also be jailed to up to three years and pay a fine of $350,000.

According to the High Court, employers must take all practicable steps to determine whether a person is lawfully employable, the spokesman man said.

It is also an offence if an employer fails to inspect the job seeker’s valid travel document if the job seeker does not have a Hong Kong permanent identity card. The maximum penalty for failing to inspect such a document is imprisonment for one year and a fine of $150,000, he added.

On the other hand, the ImmD urged victims of human trafficking to report their plight to Hong Kong authorities.

Confirmed TIP (trafficking in persons) victims will be provided with various support and assistance, including urgent interference, medical services, counselling, shelter, temporary accommodation and other supporting services.

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