Con artist gets HK$70k in welfare using fake IDs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 3:46am

An unemployed woman used two fake identities to obtain more than HK$70,000 in illicit welfare payments, a court heard yesterday.

Cheung So-ching, 30, met Social Welfare Department staff members using fake identities more than 40 times, the District Court heard.

She falsely presented herself as Lee Sau-fong - wife of her alleged boyfriend Lui Cheuk-fai - and another woman, Cheung Yik-man, between June 22, 2010, and September 2, 2011, prosecutors said.

Cheung So-ching pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of conspiracy to defraud. Decoration worker Lui, 37, was also in court yesterday.

He denied one charge each of fraud and theft.

A police officer told the court Lui turned himself in on September 3, 2011. He confessed to stealing Lee's identity card from her handbag in October, 2010, to help Cheung apply for welfare.

The court heard that in June 2010 Cheung also used the identity card of Cheung Yik-man and the address of a flat in Tai Po occupied by Lam Kai-yin to obtain welfare. Yesterday Lam said Lui had asked him to lend the flat to Cheung to conduct classes.

He had never authorised anybody to use his address to apply for welfare. Lui was released on HK$1,000 bail after Judge Sham Siu-man ruled there was a case to answer on the two charges.

The court earlier heard Cheung met officials six times and a career counsellor 15 times between July 2010 and September 2011 while posing as Cheung Yik-man. In September 2010 she used Lee's identity to get welfare and opened an account at Chiyu Banking Corporation. As Lee, she met officers, counsellors and social workers 23 times.

She was arrested when she withdrew HK$3,200 from the bank in September 2011.

The hearing will continue on Monday.