Chinese community letter to UK Border Agency
Members of the Chinese community have written an open letter regarding the UK Border Agency's raid on a Chinese business, the letter has also been sent to the British Prime Minister and other senior government ministers. You can download the full letter via here, what follows is a selection of quotes from it.
Re: Mr Pun and his Family
I have followed the Evening Star’s coverage of the Pun family’s case since it was brought to my attention by a member of the Chinese community here in Suffolk.
Since then, increasing numbers have expressed their views on the matter and its coverage. There is a clear feeling that issue needs to be raised with judicial fairness, proportionality and the stereotypification of the Chinese community as a whole.
Mr Pun’s restaurant and takeaway were raided by UK Boarder Agency / Suffolk Police (accompanied by a film crew). He, his wife and two adult children were accused of employing illegal migrant workers.
If we consider that for example Baroness Scotland received a civil fine of £5000 for employing an illegal worker (employer can be fined up to £10,000 per employee) and then compare that to the Pun’s family judicial treatment – instead of imposing a large civil fine on them, if indeed, some of the workers, were illegal, Puns were charged with “conspiring to facilitate a breach of the UK’s immigration laws”.
This is a criminal offence, for which, the couple and their two children were given considerable jail sentences. Judge Thompson has also decided to fine them £1 million, confiscating their home, restaurant / takeaway and even their cars. We see a dramatic dislocation between the way this family has been treated in comparison to what we should expect.
As far as the “conspiracy” is concerned, we understand that Mr Pun's workers were arranged to come to work for him by a very reputable London law firm which made various public announcements and widely advertised this special European Article 49 Posted Worker Scheme, reliant on the European rules, that specify if you are legally entitled to work in one EU country, you are entitled to work in another EU country.
Indeed, public seminars were held in major cities across the country by this law firm. They were held openly and above the board. This can hardly be described as a conspiracy. Hundreds of Chinese restaurants applied and participated. The main reason for this was to ensure that in engaging legal professionals, that they were operating legally. This is coupled with a genuine skill shortage in the Industry, Contract for those workers posted, were drafted by lawyers. Mr Pun was only one of the hundreds who applied and had reasonable expectation to believe that as this was arranged by the reputable law firm, it must be legal. Workers tax and insurance were handled, again, by professionals, a UK accountancy firm. Your readership’s speculation that the payments were below minimum wage is therefore also an unlikely situation.
You can read the full open letter by downloading it directly from here.