Hong Kong resident jailed for immigration scam

19 November 2012

A Hong Kong resident involved in an immigration scam was sentenced to 22 months' imprisonment by the District Court today (November 19).

The male Hong Kong resident pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to obtain services by deception.

In April 2010, immigration investigators at Hong Kong International Airport intercepted a male Mainlander as he was about to board a flight to Vancouver, Canada. The Mainlander produced a forged Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport, a forged Hong Kong identity card and a boarding pass in the name of the defendant for inspection.

In October 2010, another male Mainlander was deported from Taipei to Hong Kong for using a forged HKSAR passport at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Upon his return to Hong Kong, he was found to possess a forged HKSAR passport, a forged Hong Kong identity card and a boarding pass for a flight from Taipei to Toronto that all bore the name of the defendant.

The two Mainlanders each pleaded guilty to one count of making false representation to an Immigration Officer, one count of possession of a forged travel document and one count of possession of a forged identity card. They were each sentenced to a total of 12 months' imprisonment in May and November 2010 respectively at Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts.

After further investigation, the defendant was arrested in September 2011. Under caution, he admitted that he had presented his HKSAR passport to airline staff for check-in formalities in April 2010 at Hong Kong International Airport and in October 2010 at Macau International Airport. In the first case, after he had obtained his boarding pass for a flight to Vancouver, he gave it to a middleman and then left Hong Kong International Airport. In the latter case, he obtained a boarding pass for a flight from Macau to Taipei and another boarding pass for a connecting flight from Taipei to Toronto. He gave the second boarding pass to the same middleman in Macau and used the first boarding pass to fly to Taipei. After he arrived in Taipei, he used another air-ticket to obtain a boarding pass to return to Hong Kong. He admitted that he was aware that the two boarding passes given to the middleman would be used by other persons for illegal migration purposes and was paid HK$5,000 and HK$7,000 respectively.

"Under the Theft Ordinance, people who by any deception dishonestly obtain services from another shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for 10 years. 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," an Immigration Department spokesman said.

The spokesman also warned that under the laws of Hong Kong, any person who uses a false travel document commits an offence. It is also an offence to make false representation to immigration officers. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction the maximum penalty is a fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years.