Hong Kong police and Immigration Department officials arrested 32 people in Hong Kong during a major operation to combat illegal employment and crimes on Wednesday.

Officers from Kowloon West Regional Police Headquarters and immigration started the raids at 7 am in a number of districts in Kowloon, including Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City and others, the Oriental Daily reported.

Officers raided places likes food stalls, restaurants, guest houses and shops.

A total of 23 men and nine women aged from 28 to 75 and comprising illegal immigrants, asylum seekers and people overstaying their visas from various countries – including Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh – were arrested.

A number of Hong Kong employers were also arrested for illegally hiring workers.

The rest were arrested for alleged illegal entry, overstay, possession of illegal drugs, theft, possession of illicit cigarettes, breach of condition of stay and aiding and abetting illegal entry, news website hk01.com reported.

According to Hong Kong law, Residents employing illegal workers face maximum fines of HK$350,000 and three years in prison.