HK vows to hit at illegal mainland workers
( 2003-11-19 09:18) (China Daily HK Edition)
The Hong Kong Security Bureau Tuesday reaffirmed its position to step up action against illegal workers from the mainland after Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee met with representatives of the construction sector Tuesday afternoon.
"The meeting was fruitful and the security bureau has pledged to allocate more resources to tackle the problem of mainland illegal workers in Hong Kong," said Legislator Chan Yuen-han.
She said the Secretary for Security has given union representatives a very positive response, and promised to use all means necessary to curb illegal employment activities.
Chan said the problem has become more serious, while illegal employment of mainland workers continues to undermine the livelihoods of the local construction workforce.
"The government's current preventive measures are not stringent enough, and the local bureaucracy and law enforcement are inefficient and slow to react to complaints, giving offenders ample time to evade the authorities," said Choi Chun-wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industrial Employees General Union.
Choi stressed the government must co-ordinate further integration between different departments and minimize bureaucratic red tape.
Choi said union representatives have appealed to Ambrose Lee to accelerate the legislation process for increasing fines and terms of imprisonment, and called for increased co-operation with the central government and authorities on the mainland.
During the meeting, union leaders made suggestions to enhance law-enforcement networks between Hong Kong and the mainland, and provide cash incentives to citizens who report employment violations, he said.
"Heavy fines will be effective in deterring employment of illegal workers, while offenders who are identified by the authorities will not be able to enter the territory for at least two years," Choi added.
The meeting followed Ambrose Lee's earlier comments during a LegCo motion debate, calling for further collaboration with mainland authorities to reduce the number of visitors intending to travel to Hong Kong to commit crimes.
Statistics show, mainland visitors arrested for illegal employment in the first nine months increased by about 70 per cent compared to last year, drawing attention to a growing law enforcement problem.
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