In response to a question from a lawmaker, Secretary for Security TK Lai revealed the staggering numbers of mainlanders getting caught prostituting themselves illegally in Hong Kong.
In 2014, a grand total of 4,039 people from the mainland were arrested on suspicion of taking up unlawful employment in the form of sex work.
(Prostitution is legal, but working on a tourist visa is not.)
An additional 94 people from other countries were also arrested under the same charge. This represents a 9 percent increase from the number of arrests in 2013.
Despite this, the number of persons prosecuted and convicted dropped dramatically from last year, from 801 prosecutions to 578, and 799 convictions to 573, respectively.
Lai did not explain why the prosecution and conviction rates dropped.
The length of imprisonment did however increase from four weeks to 14 months, suspended for two years; to six weeks to 18 months, suspended for three years.
The secretary for security said that the Immigration Department is committed to preventing and stopping visitors from breaching the conditions of their stay.
He said that the authorities will give the particulars of convicted mainlanders to the mainland authorities so that their exit endorsements can be canceled, banning them from entering Hong Kong for two years.
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