Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong consultant jailed over HK$230,000 cross-border visa scam

District Court hands 44-year-old a 20-month sentence after she pleaded guilty to 16 counts of conspiracy to defraud

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 11:10pm

An immigration consultant pocketed HK$230,000 (US$29,000) from a cross-border visa scam that tried to secure false work and spousal status for at least 16 clients, a court heard on Monday.

The District Court jailed Mo Man-wai, 44, for 20 months after she pleaded guilty to 16 counts of conspiracy to defraud.

Mo was part of a wider enterprise, taking referrals from mainland Chinese co-conspirators between 2015 and 2017, the court heard.

Her associates would contact her when they came across a client who wished to obtain permanent residency in Hong Kong through legal work status. Mo then applied for visas using forged documents issued by real companies, including three she had previously worked for.

The clients were mostly from mainland China, with one each from the Philippines and Bangladesh

Of the 16 applications for work and dependent visas she filed, five of which were successful, the court heard.

Sentencing Mo on Monday, deputy judge Don So Man-lung said: “The defendant took advantage of her experience, knowledge and the convenience while teaming up with mainland accomplices … in lodging false applications”.

The court heard Mo had received HK$130,000 for submitting just two of the applications.

For some of cases, she was promised a commission of HK$100,000 for each successful application. She profited from one of them.

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Prosectors said Mo made the applications between August 2016 and June last year.

They all appeared to be backed by four companies: Kinns Enterprise Limited, Hungary Immigration Consulting Limited, Sprint Asset Management Limited and Fulixin Business Services Limited.

Mo had previously worked for all of them except Sprint Asset Management. She used templates to forge false documents, the court heard.

An investigation by the Immigration Department later uncovered that none of these companies had sought to apply for the visas in question.

The scam drew the department’s attention after it received complaints from one of the companies.

Mo was also charged for her misdeeds over two more clients. But the prosecutors decided not to pursue those offences on Monday.