Five Mainland visitors jailed for immigration scam

26 November 2012

Five Mainland residents (three males and two females) were sentenced to jail by the District Court today (November 26) for offences involving possession of forged travel documents, making false representation, and conspiracy to obtain services by deception.

All the defendants were charged with one count of making false representation and one count of conspiracy to obtain services by deception. The first defendant was also charged with one count of possessing forged travel documents. They pleaded guilty on October 19 at the District Court, which today sentenced the first defendant to 28 months imprisonment and the other four defendants to 22 months imprisonment.

On July 10, 2012, the first defendant was intercepted at the airline check-in counter at Hong Kong International Airport, where he intended to board a flight to Dubai. During a luggage search, a forged Japanese passport bearing his photo and four forged HKSAR passports bearing the photos of the other four defendants were found in the inner cover of his notebook. The other four defendants were subsequently apprehended at the boarding gate, where they intended to board the same flight as the first defendant. Under caution, all defendants admitted that they had made false representation to Hong Kong immigration officers at Lok Ma Chau Control Point, where they claimed that they would travel to Bali, Indonesia for sightseeing, while in fact they intended to go to Argentina to seek employment. Forensic examination of the Japanese passport and four HKSAR passports confirmed that they were forged.

Under the laws of Hong Kong, anyone who possesses or uses a false travel document commits an offence. Offenders are liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years. Furthermore, under the Theft Ordinance, a person who dishonestly obtains services is, if convicted on indictment, liable to a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment. Also, under the laws of Hong Kong, anyone who commits the offence of conspiracy to defraud is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.

It is also an offence to make false representation to immigration officers. Offenders are liable to prosecution and to a maximum fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution.