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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES/LEGAL | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Four members of bogus marriage syndicate jailed

 Four Hong Kong residents who arranged bogus marriages were jailed when they appeared in the District Court.


The syndicate arranged for Hong Kong residents to enter into bogus marriages with Mainlanders to enable the bogus spouses to apply for 90-day visit endorsements to enter Hong Kong and eventually apply for settlement. Some syndicate members had also entered into bogus marriages with Mainlanders.

The syndicate lured the Hong Kong residents to enter into bogus marriages with Mainlanders by placing advertisements in newspapers.

The four syndicate members, aged 28 to 44, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and were jailed for 24 to 32 months.

The Immigration Department smashed the syndicate in September 2009 and arrested syndicate members and people involved in bogus marriage.

During the operation, investigators from the Immigration Department raided a number of targeted locations and seized computers, notebooks, records of marriages and receipts of advertisements.

"The department has been very concerned with non-Hong Kong residents obtaining the right to stay in Hong Kong by means of marriage of convenience," a department spokesman said. "A special task force has been set up to gather intelligence through various avenues and a thorough investigation will be conducted once evidence comes to light. If there is enough evidence, the department will launch prosecution."

The spokesman added, "For people who have obtained their residence in Hong Kong by fraudulent means, their Hong Kong identity card and residence status will be declared invalid according to the laws of Hong Kong. They will also be subject to removal back to their place of origin."

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