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Hong Kong courts fine RMJM for wage offences

RMJM’s Hong Kong business has been fined HK$53,200 (£4,100) for wage offences

The ruling by the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts relates to failure to pay wages to five employees within seven days of the end of the wage period.

Hong Kong’s Labour Department, which brought the prosecution, said RMJM had been convicted four times between July 2011 and May 2013 for offences relating to wage payment and defaulting on payment of Labour Tribunal awards.

A spokesman said the department would not tolerate wage offences.

‘Prosecution will also be taken out on company directors if there is sufficient evidence that any wage offence is committed with their consent, connivance or negligence,’ he said

Meanwhile a separate group of 25 former RMJM Hong Kong employees has enrolled councillor Lee Cheuk Yan, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, for its own claim to allegedly unpaid wages.

A spokesperson for the group said in the wake of the latest decision: ‘We are happy to see that the labour department is taking action and is now following RMJM cases closely.

‘Most of us have been contacted again this week by the investigation unit.’

According to Section 23 and 25 of the Employment Ordinance, wages due upon expiry of the last day of the wage period or upon termination of employment shall be paid as soon as practicable, but not later than seven days.

Any employer who fails to do so wilfully and without reasonable excuse is liable to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and up to three years in prison.

RMJM group commercial director Declan Thompson referred AJ to his previous statement regarding the claim by the group of 25.

He said earlier this week: ‘It would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of the press release by former employees other than to say the facts and circumstances are not as set out in the [statement released by the ex-employees] and the matter will be resolved appropriately and in accordance with local laws.

He added: ‘The practice of stoking the unparalleled press attention in negative stories about our business continues and perpetuates an impression of difficulties at RMJM. The reality is that we have faced and overcome many problems over the past few years which, while challenging, have never approached the magnitude of the story which has developed in the press.’

He concluded: ‘[We] will significantly expand over the course of this year following the establishment of an additional new studio late last year, which is already progressing well. 

‘We’re already well advanced in our plans for the opening of a further studio in China later this year and will announce a further three studios in other parts of the world in the coming months.’

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