Tsuen Wan in the New Territories. Photo: Google Maps

An unlicensed employment agency accused of fraud was found to operate in different locations in Hong Kong over the past year.

The unlicensed agency named “Phoenix Employment Agency Center” operated in Tin Shui Wai in the New Territories and Kowloon Bay since last year but the business closed after residents filed complaints of suspected fraud – as they were not sent any domestic workers after paying a fee to the agency, Ming Pao Daily reported.

An employment agency with the same name recently opened its doors in Tsuen Wan Centre Shopping Arcade in the New Territories.

More than 20 victims have said they paid a fee and waited for several months for domestic workers. Meanwhile, they had not received any refund from the agency.

One victim surnamed Ng said she paid HK$10,000 (US$1,274) to the agency in Tin Shui Wan last August for a Filipina domestic worker but the shop closed its business a month later. She had not received a refund, so she filed a case to the Small Claims Tribunal.

It was understood that the agency then opened a new store in Kowloon Bay last September but closed in March this year. Around 20 people had paid a total of about HK$200,000 to the agency, according to Kwun Tong District Councillor Anthony Bux.

Again, they were not sent any domestic workers.

One of the victims surnamed Ho received a refund cheque issued by a man surnamed Ley, who is one of the owners of the employment agency, but the cheque “bounced”.

The Labour Department confirmed that agency had been operating without a license but officials did not reveal the number of complaints received about it. They said they would follow up on the case if they received any complaints.

Chiu Yan Loy, a community officer with the Labour Party for Tsuen Wan district, said he had asked the police to investigate the agency.

The Labour Department has received 96 complaints about unlicensed agencies over the past three years, officials figures reveal.

Read20 residents allege fraud by Kowloon employment agency