Officials want to bring mainland labour agents under the scope of Hong Kong law after a cross-border probe into airport workers' claims of unfair dealing. Secretary for Education and Manpower Joseph Wong Wing-ping said yesterday he suggested the move in talks with Shi Heqiu, director of the Department of Foreign Economic Co-operation, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation. Mr Wong said he was urging the mainland to give Hong Kong a list of authorised Chinese labour agents. Those listed should have offices or appointed agents registered in Hong Kong and all charges and fees should be published both in Hong Kong and China, Mr Wong said. By bringing in these measures, the Government hoped to eliminate any middlemen who might be taking advantage of workers, he said. 'If we have the agents registered in Hong Kong as employment agents, we can deal with them according to the [Hong Kong] law.' The Chinese authorities had been receptive, he said. It is understood six Hong Kong employers are due to appear in court in May after being charged with making unlawful wage deductions from workers and failure to make holiday payments. The Labour Department is awaiting advice from the Legal Department on another four investigations. It is unclear if any mainland labour agents will be prosecuted. The row erupted after mainland workers on airport projects claimed mainland labour agents had collected millions of dollars as 'introduction fees' to secure them the jobs. Workers said they were receiving less than half of the $9,000-$14,000 monthly salaries stipulated in their contracts. They claimed the bulk was paid to the labour firms' local agents as 'administration fees'. Mr Wong said that the investigation found mainland labour agents had allegedly charged 3,000 mainland airport workers up to $60,000 each. The Hong Kong branch of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) said deductions of up to 25 per cent could be made from workers' wages for payments to their families in China and their former employers. Hong Kong employers could take another quarter of their wages for accommodation and food. Unions responded cautiously to the Hong Kong Government's plan, saying they would like to be involved to ensure it was implemented.