Two HK employers jailed for hiring illegal workers

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Shatin Law Courts building

Two local employers were sent to prison after they hired illegal workers from Vietnam and Bangladesh, the Immigration Department (ImmD) said yesterday (July 3).

In a statement, the ImmD said the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts sentenced the employers, both HK residents, to three months’ and to six weeks’ imprisonment.

“(They) were charged…for being an employer of a person who was not lawfully employable as they did not take all practicable steps to ascertain whether the applicants were lawfully employable,” the ImmD said.

“After trial, they were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and six weeks’ imprisonment,” it added.

The two employers were arrested in two separate raids in a restaurant in Tsuen Wan and a container terminal in Kwai Chung.

The raids also resulted in the arrests of two illegal Vietnamese workers and one illegal Bangladeshi worker. The workers were also jailed earlier.

“Employers must take all practicable steps to determine whether a person is lawfully employable prior to employment,” the ImmD said.

Apart from inspecting a prospective employee’s identity card, Immigration said an employer has the “explicit duty to make enquiries regarding the person and ensure that the answers would not cast any reasonable doubt concerning the lawful employability of the person.”

“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,” the ImmD said.

Meanwhile, Immigration said its officers raided 83 locations in Hong Kong— street stalls, restaurants, residential flats, a car park, a barber shop, a commercial flat, recycling yards, a village house, a farm, a road under construction, residential buildings, and warehouses—from June 25 to 27.

They arrested a total of 26 illegal workers, their seven suspected employers, and two overstayers, Immigration added.

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