8 December 2017
The Immigration Department (ImmD) on December 6 conducted a sting operation codenamed "Snare 1205” by deploying an officer in disguise to meet with a bogus marriage intermediary. During the operation, five immigration offenders were arrested, including the syndicate mastermind, three core syndicate members and one female Mainland resident suspected of contracting bogus marriage.
The ImmD today (December 8) laid a holding charge against the syndicate mastermind, aged 53, at Shatin Magistrates' Courts one count of attempt to aiding and abetting others in making false representation to immigration officers. In view of the gravity of the case, the Magistrate refused the defendant's bail application and remanded the defendant in jail custody. The case was adjourned for mention on January 5, 2018, pending further investigation by ImmD and seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice.
The ImmD has been very concerned about non-Hong Kong residents obtaining residency by means of contracting bogus marriages with Hong Kong residents, and has been aware that criminal syndicates continually published via newspaper, instant messaging software and social networking mobile applications to induce the young people to engage in bogus marriage for huge remuneration. After intelligence analysis and in-depth investigation, a syndicate which recruited young people to engage in bogus marriages was identified.
The ImmD spokesman said, "During the operation, the ImmD arrested two male and three female immigration offenders who were suspected to have committed the offences of conspiracy to defraud, and aiding and abetting others in making false representation to immigration officers. The arrestees, aged between 26 to 54, comprising four Hong Kong residents and one Mainlander. In the premises of the mastermind and core members, investigators seized a number of documents relating to bogus marriage as well as mobile phones and more. The operation is still ongoing and more arrests may be made."
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. Anyone who commits the offence of conspiracy to defraud is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.