February 22, 2016
Tsuguo Sakumoto, 68, was taken away by immigration officers together with his Japanese assistant on Friday 19th February, 2016 during an operation at the Hong Kong Sports Institute in Sha Tin. They were released on bail after being detained for about 10 hours.
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Sakumoto, now a coach, was hired by a private organization, Karatedo Federation of Hong Kong, to offer a five-day training course to members of the Hong Kong Karatedo National Squad at the institute. But the federation is suspected of failing to apply for a working visa for the karate master.
Photos posted on the federation's Facebook page on Thursday 18th February, 2016 showed Sakumoto teaching nine people in a class. Media reports say Sakumoto was supposed to be paid HK$10,000 a day. He had also been to Hong Kong to coach in 2008 but did not encounter any problem.
Sakumoto, from Okinawa, is a three-time World Karate Federation world champion in kata. He holds the rank of ninth dan in Ryuei-ryu karate, first dan in kendo and fourth dan in judo. He is also a two-time champion at the World Games, in 1985 and 1989, and a two-time winner at the International Amateur Karate Federation World Cup, in 1987 and 1989.
An Immigration Department spokeswoman said they arrested two people on suspicion of violating the Immigration Ordinance. By law, visitors are not allowed to take up any employment, either paid or unpaid, to establish or join in any business without the director of immigration's permission. Those convicted may face up to two years in jail and up to HK$50,000 in fines. Employers who take on illegal workers may face three years' jail and be fined HK$350,000, the spokeswoman said.
"The Immigration Department has been committed to fight illegal employment and will inspect illegal workers' places based on the information given by reported cases of inspections as to protect local employment," she said. "Meanwhile, the department will deal with those reports promptly and strictly and take appropriate actions to combat related illegal activities."