Core member of syndicate arranging cross-boundary bogus marriages jailed for conspiracy to defraud

3 Jul 2015

The Immigration Department (ImmD) smashed a syndicate arranging cross-boundary bogus marriages and a Hong Kong resident core member was arrested. The 44-year-old male defendant earlier pleaded guilty to his offence of conspiracy to defraud at the District Court and he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment today (July 3).

An ImmD spokesman said that the ImmD has been very concerned about non-Hong Kong residents obtaining residency by means of contracting bogus marriages with Hong Kong residents. During the investigation of a bogus marriage case, a core member of a cross-boundary bogus marriage syndicate was identified. After in-depth investigation, it was found that this core member was suspected to have arranged for Hong Kong residents to contract bogus marriages with Mainland residents so as to enable the bogus spouses to apply for "Tanqin" exit endorsements to visit Hong Kong and eventually apply for the One-way Permit for settlement in Hong Kong by virtue of the bogus matrimonial relationship. In November 2013, this core member was arrested by investigators and a lot of marriage-related records relating to Hong Kong residents and Mainland residents were seized.

Since the commencement of the operation, a total of 22 Hong Kong residents (nine males and 13 females), aged 22 to 61, were arrested, including a core member. Twelve Hong Kong residents who had contracted bogus marriages were convicted of the offence of conspiracy to defraud, and 10 of them have been sentenced to six to 12 months' imprisonment, and the remaining two are pending sentencing. The cases related to other arrestees are being followed up. The operation is still ongoing and more arrests may be made. In addition, relevant Mainland authorities have been notified about the cases of the Mainlanders, the spokesman added.

The ImmD will continue to spare no effort in combating bogus marriages and other related illicit activities. For people who have obtained their residence in Hong Kong by fraudulent means, their Hong Kong identity card and residence status will be invalidated according to the laws of Hong Kong. They will also be subject to removal back to their place of origin, the spokesman said.

The spokesman urged the public not to defy the law by participating in activities related to bogus marriages anywhere and not to make a false oath before immigration officers for the purpose of procuring a marriage in Hong Kong. Those directing others to contract a bogus marriage may also be guilty of the offence of conspiracy to defraud.

Under the laws of Hong Kong, it is 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 and the same penalties.

Any person who for the purpose of procuring a marriage, or a certificate or license for marriage, knowingly and wilfully makes a false oath or makes or signs a false declaration shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to, upon conviction, imprisonment for seven years and a fine and anyone who commits the offence of conspiracy to defraud is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.