A woman who claimed she kept a false identity card only to hide her real age from her boyfriend has failed to secure a reduction in her one-year jail term.
Magistrate Li Kwok-wai told Lee Sin-mei, 27, in Eastern Court yesterday that possessing a false card was a serious offence that required such a sentence.
Lee, who admitted purchasing the fake card in Shenzhen, said she did so after finding that her new boyfriend was younger than she was. The fake card showed her age as 24.
"I only wanted to show to my boyfriend that I was younger," she said. "I used it just for fun. I did not know much about the law of Hong Kong and had never thought it could be so serious."
She also submitted three newspaper clippings showing other defendants charged with the same offence in Hong Kong had received suspended sentences from other courts.
But Li said the other courts' rulings were not binding on him.
"Possessing another's identity card is a serious offence," Li said. "According to a Court of Appeal judgment, even if you have legal residency in Hong Kong, you have to serve a sentence of 12 months if you possess a false identity card."
The sentence could be up to 15 months if the card was used for illegal purposes, the magistrate added.
The court heard earlier that police found the fake card when they searched Lee in Lan Kwai Fong on December 4 last year. Lee pleaded guilty to the charge before Li last month.
Lee told the court previously that she purchased the false identity card in Shenzhen for 400 yuan (HK$506).
She also told the court that she had changed her name a number of times as she believed her real name brought her bad luck. She hoped that by changing her name she would become more lucky in her love life.
Lee also claimed she suffered from schizophrenia and said she could not concentrate properly on her work or her life.