'Flying' mainland mother fails to win review of eight-month jail term
The first mainland woman convicted for sneaking into the city by plane while pregnant and giving birth at the last minute failed yesterday to win a review of her eight-month jail term.
Dealing with the case two days before the Mid-Autumn Festival - a time for family reunions - Principal Magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung told a weeping Ye Qianfeng she was lucky not to receive a year.
The decision means Ye will remain separated from her three-week-old baby boy and her factory worker husband, who was in Sha Tin Court yesterday along with her mother-in-law.
Ma said that if her husband had anything to do with the deception, "he should now be feeling absolutely remorseful".
Detained 10 days after giving birth, Ye pleaded guilty to misleading immigration officers on arrival at Chek Lap Kok airport on August 29 and providing forged medical papers that stated she was 28 weeks pregnant when she was in fact near full term.
Jacky Lai, for Ye, 26, said she was suffering from depression and did not eat or drink in the first three days in the Lo Wu detention centre.
"She certainly misses her new born baby a lot. He is supposed to be with his mother in his first six months," Lai said.
He added Ye would be willing to assist officers in identifying the Guangzhou-based middleman who arranged for her fake medical documents and Dragonair ticket. But the magistrate said this was not acceptable as mitigation for a sentence review.
Recognising the jailed mother's "uncomfortable situation", Ma stayed firm on the sentence handed down on September 18 saying a deterrent was needed.
"The court could have sentenced you to a 12-month term, given the seriousness of the offence," Ma said. "I can't see why a birth on the mainland could deprive the child of future success and accomplishments.
"Furthermore, by August 29, all these problems about congested emergency wards and mainlanders giving births here had been under sweeping [media] coverage."