Restaurants fined over illegal workers

TWO Suffolk restaurants have been fined a total of �16,000 after illegal workers were discovered during raids by immigration officers.

Colin Adwent

TWO Suffolk restaurants have been fined a total of �16,000 after illegal workers were discovered during raids by immigration officers.

The Szechuan Inn, Cattawade, near Brantham, has been hit with a �15,000 penalty following a swoop by Felixstowe representatives from the UK Border Agency on June 20 last year.

Three Chinese illegal workers were arrested at the restaurant and detained.

A 31-year-old man was identified as an illegal entrant, while a 29-year-old man was found to be a failed asylum seeker.

Checks revealed the third man was working in breach of his visit visa.

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The restaurant was served with a notification of potential liability. It was also issued with a civil penalty notice, fining it �15,000 for employing illegal workers.

The owner of the Szechuan Inn, Shek Keung Kwok, appealed against the fine. However, at a hearing in the Central London County Court his appeal was rejected.

Chief immigration officer Jack Davis, of the UKBA Felixstowe enforcement office, said: “The UK Border Agency will continue to target those who seek to profit by abusing the UK's immigration rules and we are very pleased that in this case, the fine has been upheld and the message will be sent to employers of illegal workers that you will be caught”.

In a separate case The India Villa restaurant in Hadleigh has been convicted of employing illegal foreign workers for a second time.

Musum Raja of the India Villa pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to employing an illegal worker.

He received a fine of �1,000, plus a victim charge of �15. If he fails to pay this fine he will face 45 days in custody. Raja was also ordered to pay the prosecution's costs of �1,000.

The conviction follows a visit made by Felixstowe-based UKBA officers on January 25 last year. During this raid a 23-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested for working here illegally and has since been removed from the UK.

Officers had previously visited the same premises on October 31, 2006, when they arrested two Bangladeshi men, aged 30 and 18. The 30-year-old has now been deported and proceedings have begun to remove the other man from the UK. On that occasion, the business was convicted of offences relating to employing these illegal workers.

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