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A Mainland pregnant woman and three Hong Kong residents were sentenced to 10 months’ to 13 months’ imprisonment at Sha Tin Magistrates’ Courts on May 6 and today (May 16) for a case of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to obtain services by deception.
The first and second defendants were a Mainland pregnant woman and her resident husband while the third and fourth defendants were ex-colleagues of the second defendant. Furthermore, the third defendant is the elder sister of the first defendant. They were jointly charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud. The first, second and third defendants were also jointly charged with one count of conspiracy to obtain services by deception. All defendants pleaded guilty to the charges with the first, second and third defendants sentenced to 11 months’ to 13 months’ imprisonment on May 6 while the fourth defendant was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment today.
The Immigration Department’s investigation revealed that the 28-year-old first defendant and the 27-year-old second defendant got married in Hong Kong in March 2014. Subsequently, the first defendant successfully obtained a Confirmation Certificate on Delivery Booking from a private hospital for delivery services in 2014 by virtue of her marital relationship with the second defendant. When the first defendant attempted to enter Hong Kong for delivery in June 2014, she was refused permission to land as the Immigration Department had doubts about her marital relationship with the second defendant, leading to an investigation.
After giving birth in the Mainland, the first defendant entered Hong Kong again in January 2015 and was arrested. Under caution, the first defendant admitted that she had contracted a bogus marriage with the second defendant in order to obtain a Confirmation Certificate on Delivery Booking for delivery in Hong Kong. The second defendant was subsequently arrested by the Immigration Department. Under caution, the second defendant admitted that he had contracted a bogus marriage with the first defendant under arrangements by the third and fourth defendants in order to assist the first defendant to obtain a Confirmation Certificate on Delivery Booking for delivery in Hong Kong. The third and fourth defendants were arrested by the Immigration Department during subsequent investigation. Under caution, both of them admitted that they had arranged a bogus marriage for the first and second defendants so that the first defendant could give birth in Hong Kong.
“The Immigration Department is concerned about the situation of non-local pregnant women seeking to give birth in Hong Kong by illegal means. While great efforts are made to intercept non-local pregnant women without a confinement booking at the control points, vigorous enforcement actions have also been taken to combat related immigration offences committed by non-local pregnant women and their abettors,” an Immigration Department spokesman said.
The spokesman warned that conspiracy to defraud is a serious offence. Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction, under the Crimes Ordinance, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years. Moreover, under the Theft Ordinance, a person who by any deception dishonestly obtains services from another shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to the maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years.