Illegal work blitz

TWO men found to be illegally working at a Bundaberg takeaway shop have been detained during two days of raids and traffic operations by immigration officers.

A further five foreign visitors were detained and will be shipped out of the country following the road traffic blitz targeting vehicles of farm workers and backpackers on Goodwood Rd, in the early hours of yesterday.

Immigration officers attended Natural Noodle, in Bourbong St, on Wednesday morning, where they located the two men - a Hong Kong and a Malaysian national.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said both men had arrived in the country on a visa, but had overstayed their visit.

"They were both unlawful non-citizens and have been detained pending their removal as soon as possible," he said.

Co-owner of the noodle shop, George Liang, told the NewsMail he received the news about the immigration officers' visit from his Brisbane home on Wednesday afternoon.

"One of the officers gave me a ring and then I knew that something had happened," he said.

Mr Liang said his business partner, who was currently in China, had been responsible for managing and hiring of the staff.

"He can do anything he likes for the business - he can hire other persons," he said.

Mr Liang said the serious situation the business now faced was "a very big headache".

"They (immigration officers) don't care who runs the business - this business is still in my name," he said.

It is expected Mr Liang will return to Bundaberg today to take control of the shop.

Between 4.45am and 7.45am yesterday, a 20-person-strong Bundaberg District Operations Team launched Operation Pinto 12, targeting farm worker and backpacker vehicles.

The team included officers from the Bundaberg Police Traffic Branch, Maryborough Tactical Crime Squad, general duty police officers, the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Immigration officers checked the visa status of about 40 drivers and passengers, finding four Malaysian, one Nepalese and one Chinese national who had breached their visa conditions.

"They included four unlawful non-citizens and two people working in breach of their visa conditions," the spokesman said.

"It is believed all six adults were working illegally in the horticulture industry."

The spokesman said one person was granted a bridging visa to remain in the country until departure, and the remaining five were detained and would be "removed as soon as possible".

Aside from the immigration arrests, seven people were charged during the road blitz with eight offences ranging from unlicensed driving, unregistered and uninsured vehicles, drink-driving and drug possession.

Senior Constable Ricky Lynch said more than 365 random breath tests were performed and 34 traffic infringements were issued.



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