Police smash gang making fake Hong Kong identity cards

The poor quality cards were sold to Vietnamese asylum seekers and illegal immigrants for HK$1,000 each

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 8:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 10:41pm

A cross-border syndicate that made fake Hong Kong identity cards to sell to Vietnamese asylum seekers and illegal immigrants has been broken up by local and mainland authorities.

Twenty-eight people were arrested.

Shenzhen police raided the underground factory used by the gang and seized a vast number of forged cards along with equipment, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said on Thursday.

A government source familiar with case said it was the biggest seizure of its kind in or outside the city in recent years.

Superintendent Kwan King-pan of the organised crime and triad bureau said: “Initial investigations showed the syndicate had been in operation for at least half a year.

“We are still investigating how many fake Hong Kong identity cards were made.”

He said buyers were charged around HK$1,000 for a bogus card, which they could then use to seek jobs in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong police force and Immigration Department, with the Guangdong and Shenzhen police, began investigating after police received intelligence in February.

Hong Kong members of the syndicate passed relevant information such as photographs and personal particulars given by Vietnamese buyers to their mainland accomplices.

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Kwan said it normally took one or two days to make the fake cards, which were then smuggled into Hong Kong by boat and handed to buyers.

After months of observation, officers went into action on Tuesday, and over the past three days Hong Kong police arrested 10 people and seized three fake identity cards, HK$80,000 and bank cards in raids at more than 10 locations across the city.

Four of the arrested were Hong Kong residents, including two suspected ringleaders. The others were asylum seekers from Vietnam and a Vietnamese illegal immigrant.

“The suspects included middlemen who were responsible for liaising with buyers and arranging boats to smuggle fake identity cards into Hong Kong,” Kwan said.

At the same time, Immigration officers arrested nine illegal workers, including six Vietnamese, and seven suspected employers in raids across the city.

Chief Immigration Officer Lau Wing-kei said mainland officers arrested two mainlanders – a man and a woman – at the underground factory in Shenzhen. Two Hong Kong identity cards that had been reported missing were also found there.

He said the fake cards were of poor quality and could be easily detected by checking carefully.

Lau said they lacked the triangular optical feature that could be viewed at different angles and the printing was poor.

Lau believed the operation had neutralised the syndicate.

Police said the operation was continuing and it was possible further arrests would be made.