Heavy fine for Chinese supermarket owner

POSTED: 04/3/11 4:07 PM

MARIGOT – A Chinese entrepreneur who operates a clothing store in Philipsburg was fined $49,750 in the court in Marigot this week for employing four illegals in a supermarket he operates in the French district of Concordia. The illegals and a man who acted as a front for the store owner each have to pay a fine of a bit more than $710.

The 52-year-old Chinese, identified in a story about the case in the French-side newspaper Week only as M., has four children and he has owned a clothing store in Philipsburg for more than fifteen years, since 1994. When he opened the supermarket in Concordia, he asked a friend of one of his sons to put his name on the paperwork. He paid this 28-year-old St. Martiner almost $2,275 per month for his service.  “I asked him because he speaks French, the Chinese man told the court.

But in reality not the hired St. Martiner, but the Chinese man himself worked the supermarket, assisted by his son. During an economic control, inspectors found four Chinese in the store, who all turned out to have valid papers for the Dutch side, but not for the French side.

The Chinese defendant told the court that he wanted to help troubled people by offering them a small job in his store. He also maintained that his son was not really working in the supermarket, but that he only gave a hand every now and then.

The prosecutor concluded that the facts were clear and that the case at hand was “a classic situation for Saint Martin.”

The court issued four fines of €2,500 to M., four fines of €5,000 to the legal entity that operates the supermarket in Concordia, and €500 to each of the illegals and the son’s friend. All in all, the fines amount to €37,500, or a bit more than $53,300.

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