The Government is seeking to overturn a tribunal decision that gave the right of abode to a former prisoner and his three children. Cheng Chiu, 38, who was born on the mainland, first registered for a Hong Kong identity card in 1965, when he was a child. An adult card was granted to him in 1970. But between 1971 and 1980, Cheng served five terms of imprisonment. He emigrated to the Philippines after his last release from jail, according to an application filed by the Commissioner of Registration. Cheng's application for a permanent identity card in June last year was rejected by the Commissioner on the basis that he had not spent seven continuous years in Hong Kong and therefore did not qualify. Time spent in prison does not count, the Commissioner argued. But on June 22, last year, the Registration of Persons tribunal allowed an appeal by Cheng and his children, aged 26, 20, and 12, against the decision. The Commissioner lodged an application for judicial review, to challenge the tribunal's decision at the High Court yesterday. A recent decision by the Court of Appeal, that time spent in custody does not count towards the seven-year qualifying period, is used by the Commissioner to back up his case.