Two housewives are likely to face a "rather long" jail term after they admitted being paid to pose as prisoners' friends to visit them. Liu Lirong, 33, and Shuai Shaoping, 29, pleaded guilty in Kwun Tong Court yesterday to one count of conspiracy to defraud. The women and seven other co-defendants had earlier pleaded not guilty in the first case of its kind. But yesterday Liu and Shuai admitted defrauding prison officers by claiming to be friends of inmates they were visiting while in fact they did not know them and were being paid to do so. Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung said he would most likely give them a jail term as a deterrent as the offences involved perverting the course of justice. "We need to pass on a clear message to the general public that such behaviour deserves serious punishment. The jail term would be rather long," Lin said. The court heard that the pair worked for IPS-Care, a company which runs a business that arranges for people to visit inmates in the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre at HK$120 each time, charging customers more if they wanted their "visitors" to pass on messages, food and daily necessities. The company distributed leaflets outside the centre to promote its services. In four undercover operations in November and December 2011, officers pretended to be clients and Liu made three visits to prisoners on behalf of the officers. Shuai was implicated in a sting operation where both the client and inmate were undercover officers. The officers were charged from HK$120 to HK$558. The court heard that Liu had paid visits to 13 inmates 18 times while Shuai had visited nine inmates 14 times since September 2011. On every occasion they deceived prison officers by saying they were the inmates' friends and they were allowed in. The pair, who moved from the mainland some years ago, worked part time for HK$35 an hour. They were arrested in February last year. Defence lawyer Victor Ho pleaded for community service instead of jail, saying the women had played only a minor role and had committed the crime unknowingly. But the magistrate rejected the suggestion, saying that they had obviously been in the know and community services orders would not be appropriate. The pair was remanded. Lin adjourned the case until June 25, pending background reports. A pre-trial review on the proprietor of IPS-Care and six other employees who earlier pleaded not guilty, will be held next Friday.