Mainland and Hong Kong authorities on Thursday agreed to extend a joint operation to crack down on people-smuggling into the territory, saying the problem remains very serious.
Mainland authorities said from February last year to this November, they stopped almost 300 cases of human smuggling involving around 3,400 foreigners being brought into Hong Kong illegally.
Hong Kong police, meanwhile, said they arrested more than 837 non-Chinese illegal immigrants over the past 11 months. Many of those caught were working illegally or were engaged in criminal activities.
In light of the figures, the authorities on either side of the border agreed to extend a joint operation, aimed at stopping human trafficking, until the middle of 2019.
Secretary for Security John Lee said people-smugglers are now highly organised and use sophisticated tactics to try to avoid detection as they bring people in by sea and by land.
"When we try to concentrate effort at a particular point, after they failed a few times they will switch to other locations," Lee said.
He said the SAR and the mainland will continue to tackle the problem by collecting intelligence and exchanging information.