Sheung Shui

Clean up of 'grave sweepers'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 2000, 12:00am

More than 100 people - mostly mainlanders - have been rounded up for charging families up to $100 a time to sweep graves.

Police and immigration officers staged a seven-hour operation to flush the suspects out of Wo Hop Shek cemetery in Sheung Shui yesterday.

They are suspected to be working illegally in Hong Kong.

A total of 104 people - 78 men and 26 women aged between 25 and 45, who were two-way permit holders - were arrested. A 63-year-old man was arrested for employing one of the suspects.

The raid followed complaints from people who were asked for money when they visited their ancestors' graves during the Ching Ming Festival this month.

They said sums ranging from $50 to $100 were demanded in return for cleaning gravestones and cutting nearby grass.

The operation was mounted yesterday, ahead of the four-day Easter holidays beginning today when more people are expected to visit their ancestors' graves.

Most of those picked up were mainland residents who had arrived here on two-way permits on condition they could not work here.

Three Sri Lankans were among those arrested.