Be a smart hunter

Be a smart hunter

Looking for a summer job comes with certain risks that all young applicants should be aware of

Many of you are desperate for any job, so you grab at any chance that comes along. You should not, an expert warns.

Take modelling, for example. "Auditions" may pose risks, says Gary Tang Leung-shun, supervisor at Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. "If you're asked to strip down to show your body, you should say no and leave," he says.

Tang says some teens have been tricked into letting themselves be photographed in the nude.

"Criminals are very crafty," he explains. "They will come up with all kinds of reasons for you to do what you are told. They will push you step by step," Tang says.

"First, they start talking [you] into wearing shorts and tube-tops, and then swimsuits, and [so on]."

Many people do not know how to say no in such situations.

Another word of advice: if a job sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. "You need to be realistic; there are no well-paid jobs that require no experience," Tang says. "Overly attractive ads are put out to attract people to job interviews. Once they are at an interview, seasoned crooks can coax them into doing all kinds of things."

A common type of scam is to persuade job seekers to pay for a "training course" to get a job or buy products from a company to sell. "Remember: you get a job to be paid, not to pay them for the job," Tang says.

People may land in other forms of trouble, such as becoming targets of money laundering. "Many young people do not have bank accounts," he says.

"A criminal may say he needs you to have a bank account to pay your wages, so he persuades you to provide your personal details to open a bank account. The account is then used for money laundering."

A telltale sign is the location of an interview. "If you are asked to go to a job interview in a public space such as a cafe, you need to pay extra attention. A company should have an office and should not need to make use of public space for job interviews," Tang says.

For many of you, the most common sources of summer work are in sales or services. Before you take up a job as a waiter, say, you should know your rights and duties.

According to the Labour Department's Employment Ordinance, an employer may deduct from an employee's wages if the latter ends up damaging or losing goods, equipment or property. Yet the sum must not exceed HK$300.

"In case of equipment or other damage, employers should have insurance to cover the loss so it is unreasonable for them to expect you to pay for the entire loss. The law has set a ceiling for the amount of compensation," Tang says.

"Some employers state in the contract that employees must pay for the damages [in full], but you need to be smart enough to know that it is against the labour ordinance to include such terms."

If you have any questions regarding employment, call the HKFYG Youth Employment Network hotline at 3113 7999.

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