A con artist in a multi-million dollar swindling syndicate yesterday lost his attempt to have his sentence reduced. The Court of Appeal rejected claims by Kong Kwong-por, 38, that his 5.5-year prison term was unreasonably harsh. The fraudster said he played a minor role in the $12 million scam, and that he was only following orders. But Mr Justice Barry Mortimer described Kong's role as 'a vital one'. '[These offences] were obviously very serious matters,' he said. Mr Justice Mortimer, Mr Justice Henry Litton and Mr Justice Simon Mayo concluded that the jail term was not excessive. Between March 1995 and February last year, Kong used false names and posed as a middle-man who could help three mainland businessmen change their money into Hong Kong dollars. He then deposited dishonoured cheques into three Hong Kong bank accounts and falsified passbooks to make it appear the deposits had been made. Kong had pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to defraud.