A mainland couple who surrendered to the Immigration Department after illegally living in Hong Kong for 20 years yesterday failed to win an early release from jail to care for their three children. Chinese medicine practitioner Tang Siu-kuen, 58, and his wife, Cheung Shun-ho, 50, lost their appeal and were ordered back to prison to complete their 10-month jail terms. The couple surrendered on November 5 last year following the Court of Final Appeal's landmark judgment in July that ruled children born in Hong Kong to parents who were not Hong Kong permanent residents were entitled to right of abode. Their daughter, Tang On-yi, 19, and their twin eight-year-old sons have been granted permanent residency status but were left with nobody to take care of them after their parents were jailed in June. All three children were born in Hong Kong and the couple taught them to read and write at home because they could not attend school. In an appeal hearing at the Court of First Instance last month, barrister Chan Kam-chun urged Deputy Judge Michael Wong Kin-chow to reduce the couple's sentences on compassionate grounds. Dismissing the appeal, Deputy Judge Wong yesterday rejected claims the couple had shown they were truly remorseful by surrendering themselves after 20 years of living secretly. 'For the past 20 years they kept breaking the law every day by using other people's identity cards to deceive the government and their employers. What they have been doing was for their own interest and they did not feel bad about committing crimes,' the judge said. 'Obviously they surrendered themselves amid the legal battles over the right of abode in the hope of winning public sympathy.' The judge said the trial magistrate had been 'very lenient' in handing down a jail term of 10 months. He added the couple should have considered their children before they committed the offence, rather than citing them as a mitigating factor after their convictions. In June this year, Tang pleaded guilty to illegally remaining in the SAR and using another person's identity card. Cheung admitted the same two charges and another of possession of another person's identity card. Kowloon City Court magistrate Albert Wong Sung-hau jailed both of them for 10 months for the offences.