SPECIAL teams of inspectors will be checking Hongkong's factories for underage workers when school summer holidays begin next month. The long break is when unscrupulous employers have taken advantage of young and cheap labour. Labour law forbids the employment of children under 15 in any factory although 13 and 14-year-olds may be employed part-time in a non-industrial firm if certain conditions are met. These conditions include parental permission and a school attendance record. Labour Department officials investigate complaints or tip-offs of underage workers as soon as they are made throughout the year, but special squads are formed for the summer holidays to make spot checks on premises throughout the territory where childrenmay be employed illegally. In the first quarter of this year 19 employers were convicted for employing underage children or those who did not satisfy criteria for a part-time job. They were fined a total of $30,500. The maximum fine for each offence is $20,000. Last year a total of 99 convictions of employers were made - 72 related to employing underage children in factories; 23 for employing children without parental consent or school attendance certificates; three for using children under the age of 13 and one for illegally hiring a child without a Form Three school certificate. Fines imposed totalled more than $165,000. The Labour Department is confident it is beating the problem of child labour. There was a high of 158 convictions in 1989, but since then there have been fewer and fewer summonses, almost all of which have resulted in convictions. The department's senior information officer Mr Raymond Cheng Kim-hung said: ''These days employers and parents are more aware that children should not be working in industrial undertakings, though there are still problems in the holidays. ''From our experience we usually spot more irregularities during the holidays, though we can't predict what will happen this year. ''Irregularities are becoming fewer and fewer nowadays.'' Factories contravening the employment regulations tend to have just one or two youngsters in the workplace rather than dozens, he said. Nevertheless, the department will be stepping up monitoring of work places as soon as schools break for summer. ''That is the period of time when more and more children will be working in factories and offices, legally or illegally,'' Mr Cheng said. ''So that is a good time for us to launch any campaign against child labour.'' Legislative Councillor and teachers' leader Mr Cheung Man-kwong said he believed problems of young children having to work were very much a thing of the past. But he said he would prefer to see no child still at school working at all, even on a part-time basis. ''Working in McDonald's or whatever for even a few hours will affect their school life and their study,'' he said. ''I don't agree with children under the age of 15 working, except maybe for a part in a movie where they need a child, but that is an exceptional case. ''But if it is not against the law, there is nothing you can do. Maybe the law should be changed.''