Checks on minors with fake IDs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2007, 12:00am

Police will step up raids on entertainment venues during the holidays to crack down on minors using bogus identity cards to gain entry.

This follows an increasing number of arrests of youngsters - mostly aged 15 to 16 - for using fake cards.

Officers said some of them copied their own identity cards on a colour copier and altered the birthdates, while others copied the cards of older siblings. The altered cards were then laminated and when displayed in the holders' wallets proved realistic enough to fool bouncers and other staff in the dim lights of discos, pubs and karaoke dens.

Chief Inspector Teresa Chiang Shui-ching, a Hong Kong Island regional crime prevention officer, said police believed staff at the venues did not look at the cards carefully enough before allowing minors to enter.

'It works because the appearance of some girls looks older especially when they are dressed up,' she said.

She stressed that copying or using a false document was 'a serious offence' under the Crimes Ordinance, with a maximum penalty of 14 years' jail. Police said the practice had been growing as young people found the ruse worked, although the numbers were still not great. 'The figure is not much, but we take this seriously,' Chief Inspector Chiang said.

Other than breaking the law by using a fake identity card, she said 'minors at these entertainment venues may be in contact with illegal drugs and involved in drug abuse'.

In October, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen promised in his policy address to set up a high-level interdepartmental taskforce to combat juvenile drug abuse.

Most arrests were made when police conducted routine licence checks at upstairs pubs in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai during weekends or school holidays.

To tackle the problem, police have stepped up raids on these venues and have asked staff to be more alert.