A taxi driver has been jailed for six years for storing more than 9,000 bogus credit cards disguised as hotel room key cards, which a judge believed could have caused losses of HK$90 million.
Cheng Hung-man, 49, had initially pleaded not guilty to one count of possessing false instruments, but changed his plea after the prosecution had called all of its witnesses.
Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on told the District Court it was one of the most serious cases of its kind that he had handled as it involved a huge number of fake cards purportedly issued by banks in the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Canada.
Kwok said police raided Cheng's public housing flat in Yau Tong on November 22, 2012 and seized 9,047 incomplete fake credit cards. The court did not hear why police searched Cheng's home.
"Police found it more challenging to probe the case because the cards were covered by stickers on both sides, disguising them as hotel room cards," Kwok said.
The fakes - which included Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards - had magnetic strips but carried no names or card numbers.
Earlier, Cheng's lawyers said that he was storing the cards for a syndicate in return for HK$3,000.
But the judge disputed his claim, saying it was impossible that the crime syndicate would have entrusted somebody who had no knowledge of its operations to store the cards, especially when they took up so little space.
There was no evidence Cheng was the mastermind of the bogus card scheme, Kwok said.