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Bread Shop or Sweat Shop

2 August 2004

Bread Shop or Sweat Shop

The Department of Labour’s immigration service made history last week after an Auckland baker was found guilty of hiring and exploiting a Thai overstayer.

Chikhoun Liuu, owner/operator of the Western Bakery in New Lynn, was sentenced in Auckland District Court on 28 July for knowingly employing an illegal worker.

The 39-year-old was also found guilty of seriously breaching The Holidays Act by failing to give the worker the paid leave he was entitled to throughout his employment. He was fined $1000 each on both charges.

The Liuu prosecution is the first under a recent amendment to the Immigration Act now gives the service greater powers to prosecute employers for gross breaches of minimum employment standards.

Two Thai overstayers had lived with Liuu and his family. One of the men had been employed at the bakery for more than six years, working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The other had been at the bakery for nearly a year under the same conditions.

Carrie Smith, the immigration officer who brought the prosecution warned that the department plans to stringently pursuing other exploitative employers.

“If you are going to employ overstayers, this is what will happen to you as everyone has the right to a decent workplace, regardless of their immigration status.”

The two men employed by Liuu have since been removed from New Zealand by the immigration service.


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