A senior United States immigration official appeared in Eastern Court yesterday accused of possessing five forged Honduras passports. Jerry Stuchiner, 45, now the officer in charge of immigration at the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, was arrested on Monday when he arrived at Kai Tak airport with a diplomatic passport. Yesterday in the dock, Stuchiner was charged with carrying five blank Honduras travel documents believed to be forged, false or obtained unlawfully. Prosecutor Kevin Zervos told the court the Independent Commission Against Corruption was investigating allegations that Stuchiner had traded passports in Hong Kong and around the world. Mr Zervos applied for a week's adjournment. No plea was entered. Stuchiner was refused bail by magistrate Alan Wright, who remanded him in custody and ordered that he receive medical treatment for a pancreas ailment before his next appearance on July 24. The senior official, a father of two teenagers, spent five years in the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service in Hong Kong before he was posted to Honduras. His duties here included providing intelligence on illegal immigration. He was believed to have set up a considerable intelligence network in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in those five years. Also arrested in the first joint operation between the ICAC and the Office of the Inspector-General of the US Justice Department were Taiwanese Chang Wei-jhai, 40, and five other people, including two former Hong Kong immigration officers. In a separate case yesterday, Chang, unemployed, was jailed for 18 months after a forged Taiwan passport and forged Honduras travelling papers were found at his North Point home. He admitted possessing false documents. Eastern Court heard Chang left Taiwan for the US in 1976 on a student visa. He continued to live abroad when the visa expired, dodging military service in his own country. As result, Taiwan authorities cancelled his passport. In February last year, Chang went to Honduras and bought a false Taiwan passport for US$1,000 (about HK$7,735) from a man in a casino. He told the court he had been trying to return home so he could attempt to regain his legal status. Mr Wright also heard Chang bought a forged Honduras passport for US$2,000 from another man and came to Hong Kong on February 17 this year.