Two Bangladeshi men were sentenced to 15 months by a Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on Friday after being caught during a raid by Hong Kong’s Immigration Department late last year.

Their Hong Kong employer was sentenced to four months for hiring illegal workers.

The two Bangladeshis are asylum seekers aged 42 and 47. They were arrested while conveying goods at Kwai Chung Container Terminal in the New Territories on December 19.

Hong Kong allows asylum seekers to remain in the city while their applications are being assessed and, if accepted, while the United Nations arranges for resettlement in another country. However, they are not allowed to work, whether paid or unpaid, during their stay.

Offenders are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 (US$6,400) and up to three years’ imprisonment. Meanwhile, employing an illegal worker is considered a serious offense, as the maximum penalty is imprisonment for three years and a fine of HK$350,000.