War on illegal jobs and prostitution
( 2003-11-06 10:43) (China Daily HK Edition)
The Hong Kong Security Bureau said Wednesday that it would step up action against mainland visitors engaging in illegal employment and prostitution when staying in Hong Kong.
The number of mainland visitors arrested for illegal employment rose by nearly 70 per cent in the first nine months of this year to 3,536 against the same period last year. The figure jumped from 1,853 in 2000 to 3,031 in 2002.
Visitors engaging in prostitution in the first nine months rose by 52 per cent from last year to 7,033.
Ambrose Lee, secretary for security, told the Legislative Council during a motion debate yesterday that the government is concerned about the rampant situation and will beef up liaison with the mainland authorities to investigate and prevent future violations.
"We are working hard with a view to stemming such activities at their sources, through working together with relevant mainland authorities to reduce the number of visitors intending to travel into Hong Kong to commit crimes," Lee said.
His remarks came during a member's motion mooted by Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) Legislative Councillor Yeung Yiu-chung.
Yeung said he was concerned that the illegal employment of such visitors would not only have an effect on the employment of local workers here, but cause a serious nuisance to the public.
Yeung called on the government to increase manpower and step up inspections to combat such illegal activities - and to review existing legislation and introduce heavier penalties.
"With the emergence of a trend that the illegal employment activities are seeming to be more and more organized in the form of syndicates, existing penalties are not heavy enough," he said.
"The government should introduce specific legislation to counter such syndicated activities."
The secretary for security stressed that the government will work with the authorities in Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) and, in particular, Guangdong Province to target cross-border prostitution activities.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood Councillor Frederick Fung called on the government to crack down on unlicensed guesthouses that are indirectly encouraging such illegal activities.
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