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Restaurant fined over illegal workers

PUBLISHED: 11:25 30 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:24 05 July 2010

A Chinese restaurant is being fined £30,000 after a raid discovered eight illegal immigrants working there.

Officials from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) searched the China Diner, in High Street, Lowestoft, after receiving intelligence that Chinese nationals were working there illegally.

A Chinese restaurant is being fined £30,000 after a raid discovered eight illegal immigrants working there.

Officials from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) searched the China Diner, in High Street, Lowestoft, after receiving intelligence that Chinese nationals were working there illegally.

All exits from the buffet-style restaurant were sealed during the raid on August 21 while officials checked documents, leading to the arrest of five men and three women who are now facing deportation.

The restaurant owners were given 30 days to prove that they carried out the proper checks before taking on the staff, but failed to do so and have now been fined £30,000.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: “A notification of penalty has now been served for £30,000. The employers have been fined in relation to the five men and three women employees as it was found that they knowingly employed illegal immigrants.”

When the restaurant was raided, one woman was hiding in a locked room upstairs until police could get the key from the owner and arrest her. One of the workers, a 34-year-old-man, was a failed asylum seeker who was found to have a Chinese passport in a different identity. Another man, aged 33, was found with a counterfeit passport, and a 22-year-old man was discovered to be an illegal UK entrant.

China Diner owner Phan Lu claimed the illegal workers were friends of current employees and had been taken on while she was on a seven-week holiday.

The raid in Lowestoft was part of a UKBA crackdown in Suffolk, which also saw two men arrested from Indian restaurants in Ipswich who had overstayed their visas.

Anyone who suspects illegal workers are being employed should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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