Thursday, 8 December 2011

Jury Out in Illegal Restaurant Staff trial

Jury Out in Illegal Restaurant Staff trial
Two brothers were so confused by the behaviour of Britain's immigration service they did not realise they were employing illegal immigrants, a jury has been told.

Martin and Kevin Lai, who run restaurants in Exmouth, Exeter and Torquay, believed the workers were allowed to be in Britain because they were issued with National Insurance numbers and tax documents. Some were returned to the restaurants after being arrested in previous raids without either they or the employers being told they should not be working.
One waitress had been in Britain for 12 years with the knowledge of the immigration service but was never deported and other staff have since been allowed to live and work here.

When the restaurants were raided some of the staff were detained briefly by authorities and then released with a form called an IS 96 nominating the staff quarters of the restaurants as their address.

Lawyers representing the two brothers accused the Immigration Service and Border Agency of being in complete disarray after a string of anomalies came to light during a trial at Exeter Crown Court.

Martin Lai, aged 46, of Cranford Avenue, Exmouth, and Kevin Lai, aged 38, of Tor Hill Road, Torquay, deny a total of 11 charges of assisting unlawful immigration by employing illegals. They face six joint charges, Martin Lai faces three identical individual charges and Kevin Lai two. They relate to a series of four raids between January 2006 and July 2008 at the Imperial China in Cowick Street, Exeter; the Oriental City in Station Road, Pinhoe; and China Blue in Tor Hill, Torquay.

The prosecution allege both men were aware they were breaking the law because they had been warned during the early raids on the restaurants

British Born Chinese Martin Lai is one of Britain's top powerboat racers and his Ocean Dragon Boats have competed in P1 races all around the world. He is also a leading member of the Chinese community in Britain and the jury have been told he went on television to protest against his treatment after the Border Agency took a BBC crew on one of their raids.


  1. From his lawyer:

    Mr Lee Bremridge, for Kevin Lai, told the jury: “You all watch the news and know the ways of the world and know the UK Border Agency is perhaps in complete disarray.

    “How is it somebody who is here illegally gets a P45 and a National Insurance number?

    “One of the workers was sent back to work at a restaurant where she shouldn’t have been working. “The prosecution say it was a mistake but how can it be fair to prosecute the employer?”

    'prosecution say it was a mistake'


    so in other words:

    'whoops we didnt really mean to send your workers back to the restaurant 12 years ago, but now we've changed our minds 12 years later, and now we want to pay for our cockup. '

  2. ^ * 'we want Mr Lai to pay for our cockup'

  3. Daniel York writes-

    It always seems to me that the immigration authorities pick on Chinese far more than other immigrant communities. I think they see the Chinese as a "soft target" to get their numbers up.

    The example above just seems like blatant victimisation.

  4. They have been actually guilty as charged, so there is no injustice or victimasation, as such, they must be loaded and still employ illegals.

    Today, they have both been found guilty today of two offences and cleared of the rest. Each case related to a different worker.

    Judge Phillip Wassall adjourned sentencing to a later date to await the outcome of an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act but said he was not considering custody at this stage.

  5. Well if this guy IS actually guilty and he is supposed to be a leading member of the chinese community in comment

    But look at what I found here:

    'The owner of the Bamboo restaurant in Exmouth, Martin Lai, who is chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Chinese Association, said that during an immigration raid on the restaurant he and his staff were treated as if they were terrorists.[7]

    'Officers wearing stab vests'

    Press reports on the raids frequently include the information that the officers involved were wearing stab vests. This appears to result from (and in turn contributes to) a characterisation of undocumented workers as truly criminal, dangerous, liable to pull a knife to evade capture - which, from the total absence of any evidence to support it, whether in court reports, police charges or otherwise - appears wholly false.'

  6. lets not forget the Border Agency act on tip-offs a lot of time...

    So who is tipping off the Chinese illegal workers? Obviously, its the British Public.

  7. @BBCz I just reread that article

    hadnt realised you updated it..

    So once again typical law enforced hypocrisy - slow to help Chinese businesses local problems which can lead to fatal events ( aka Simon San) and in Martin Lai's case quick to weed out immigrant workers which they glossed over 12 years ago.

    From your link( for this article):

    '.. the jury have been told he ( Martin Lai) went on television to protest against his treatment after the Border Agency took a BBC crew on one of their raids.

    Mr Edward McKiernan, for Martin Lai, accused the Immigration Service of entrapment by detaining workers and then releasing them back to live in staff quarters at the restaurants without telling the owner they could not work. He said: “This is entrapment. They have set someone up and it is not very edifying. This is worse than police leaving a van full of X Boxes unlocked and waiting to see who will take them.

    “In the case of one of these workers the immigration service knew for years where to find her but left her there and when they did pick her up they sent her back.

    “It’s great if you have targets to meet and your bonus depends on hitting your targets. They send them back to the restaurants and the odds are they will be there when they visit it again the next year.”

    So basically the border police get a 'bonus' for rearresting the same people over and over again over a period of years? haha... law enforced corruption at its best

  8. If Martin Lai is an ;'esteemed member'( whatever that means)of the B C , maybe once he wins the case make a big stink about being harassed.

    With that kind of personal experience of harassment by speaking out he'll do more for British Chinese community than those grant grabbing imperialist faggots at dimsum

    Like I think someone said on here once: Chinese typically only stand up for justice when they've been wronged personally. and /or whether its to do with money otherwise they wont give a shit. In both cases, here id say he has a good reason to speak out against injustice, and if he has any kind of clout in the B C community, so much the better.

  9. ^Sorry didnt mean to misuse the word 'faggot' on here incase someone accuses me of being a homophobe - I actually like gay people. And no, not like that either. I meant...OH NEVERMIND

    1. Time to come out of the closest? I had an uncle like that at the North Point on Hong Kong Island!

  10. The Staffs who are working without pappers you want 2 give workpermit for these guys.And the buisness will Run properly.

  11. Daniel York writes-

    Whether Martin Lai is innocent or not I really think the Chinese are picked on by the immigration authorities far more than other minority groups. It's like whenever they feel they have to get their deportation numbers up they just go and raid a load of Chinese restaraunts.

  12. A jury is expected to continue deliberations today in the case of two brothers accused of employing illegal immigrants at their Chinese restaurants.and working well thanks.Restaurant Software

  13. When a country shares a border with another country where people are driven to migrate, illegal immigration can be very hard to control. Various countries have attempted different methods to combat the problem.