13 February 2012
A female Mainland resident was sentenced today (February 13) to ten months' imprisonment by Shatin Magistrates' Court for running a business arranging for non-local pregnant women to give birth in Hong Kong. She earlier appeared in court on February 10, when she pleaded guilty to one count of breach of condition of stay and one count of making false representation to an immigration officer. She was sentenced to two months in prison for the offence of breach of condition of stay and eight months for making false representation to immigration officer, both sentences to run consecutively.
On January 15, the 29-year-old defendant was stopped for examination at Lok Ma Chau Control Point. Investigation revealed that shortly before the defendant's arrival, a non-local pregnant woman without a residential hospital booking had arrived at the same control point and was sent to hospital by ambulance for urgent delivery. Though the defendant claimed to have no knowledge of the pregnant woman, immigration officers suspected that she was acting to assist pregnant women in entering Hong Kong for delivery. Further investigation revealed that the defendant had accompanied other non-local pregnant women into Hong Kong in 2011. Following questioning the defendant admitted that she had been running a business to arrange for pregnant non-locals to enter Hong Kong for purposes of giving birth since 2010. She also admitted that the pregnant woman intercepted on the day concerned was her client and she was accompanying her to give birth in Hong Kong. To avoid being refused permission to enter, the defendant falsely told the immigration officer that she did not know the pregnant woman.
"The Immigration Department is concerned about the situation of non-local pregnant women seeking to give birth in Hong Kong without confinement booking. Whilst great efforts are made to intercept such non-local pregnant women at the control points, vigorous enforcement actions have also been taken to combat the related immigration offences committed by agents and arrangers," an Immigration spokesman said.
The spokesman warned that visitors are not allowed to take employment, or establish or join in any business in Hong Kong, without the permission of the Director of Immigration. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for two years.
The spokesman added that making false representation to an immigration officer is a serious offence. Offenders are liable to prosecution and to a maximum fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years.