Five on human smuggling charges

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2001, 12:00am

Five people appeared in court yesterday charged with trying to smuggle two mainlanders into the United States through Chek Lap Kok.

The suspected members of a human smuggling syndicate were charged by the ICAC after allegedly trying to help the mainlanders enter the US by providing boarding passes and forged US passports to board a flight to Chicago in March.

The US Consulate-General earlier referred the case to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, suspecting the syndicate might have offered bribes to airport staff. Subsequent investigations found no evidence of airport staff involvement, the ICAC said.

Chan Sung-yuen, a 38-year-old company proprietor; merchant Cheng Kwong-chung, 29; Robert Yu, 38, unemployed; Wong Lai-ming, a 32-year-old housewife; and Cheng Hong-shing, 28, a company proprietor, appeared at Tsuen Wan Court. They were charged with four counts of conspiracy to possess false US passports and conspiracy to defraud United Airlines.

Two mainland residents - Cheng Chongfei, 25, and Lu Qiufeng, 28 - were earlier both charged with one count of possessing a forged US passport.

Yesterday they were also charged with the conspiracy offences the five other defendants face and one additional charge of making a false representation to an immigration officer.

The alleged offences took place between March 1 and 3.

No pleas were taken yesterday and Magistrate Julia Livesey adjourned the case to June 1, pending transfer to the District Court.