Forgery case plea rejected

Agatha Ngai

An immigration adviser must go on trial for forgery after a magistrate dismissed his application to halt the case.

Tony Man Fong-hang, 54, is accused of plotting with British lawyer Paul Samrai to forge documents while applying for British passports for their clients between June 1990 and September 1991.

It was alleged that up to September 1992 - when Man's Opportunities UK (HK) was raided - applications for passports by 45 clients generated $17 million.

Gary Plowman QC argued Man could not have a fair trial as 'highly relevant material' relating to the credibility of the key prosecution witness, Mr Samrai, could not be obtained.

Eastern Court heard the former lawyer was jailed for three years in England for his involvement in Opportunities. He was recently released on parole and returned to Hong Kong for Man's case. Prosecutor Jackson Poon said he did not dispute the bad character of his witness, but Mr Samrai could be challenged in cross-examination.

Mr Poon alleged Opportunities was mainly concerned in supporting applications for right of abode for Hong Kong citizens for a fee up to $500,000 per application.

Magistrate John Brennan dismissed the application for a stay after a day's argument. The hearing continues.