Home Crime 11 Arrested in Crackdown on Illegal Food Delivery Couriers

11 Arrested in Crackdown on Illegal Food Delivery Couriers

territory-wide anti-illegal worker operations

Immigration authorities in Hong Kong have arrested a total of 11 people in a series of operations targeting illegal food delivery couriers, officials said Tuesday.

The Immigration Department (ImmD) carried out the anti-illegal worker operations, codenamed “Lightshadow,” over three consecutive days from July 8 to July 10. During the operations, ImmD task force officers conducted identity checks on 93 food delivery couriers across the territory.

Eight suspected illegal workers and three suspected aiders and abettors were arrested, according to an ImmD spokesperson. The eight suspected illegal workers were all non-ethnic Chinese males aged 20 to 45, and were found to be holders of recognisance forms and non-refoulement claimants, meaning they are prohibited from taking any employment in Hong Kong.

Among the eight suspected illegal workers, three men were also suspected of illegally using electric mobility devices. Their cases will be referred to the Hong Kong Police Force for further investigation.

The three suspected aiders and abettors arrested were Hong Kong residents aged 19 to 45. One man and two women were suspected of conspiring to defraud delivery platforms by selling or renting their food delivery courier accounts to the illegal workers.

“Any person who contravenes a condition of stay in force in respect of him or her shall be guilty of an offence,” the ImmD spokesperson said. “Visitors are not allowed to take employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years’ imprisonment.”

The spokesperson warned that employing illegal workers is a serious offence, with the maximum penalty for employers increased from a fine of $350,000 and three years’ imprisonment to a fine of $500,000 and 10 years’ imprisonment.

Under the existing mechanism, the ImmD will conduct an initial screening of vulnerable persons, including illegal workers, to ascertain whether they are victims of human trafficking. Identified trafficking victims will be provided with various forms of support and assistance, the spokesperson said, urging such victims to report crimes to the relevant departments immediately.