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Friday, February 19, 2010

Holders of Passports Bearing Fake Immigration Stamps Liable to Prosecution in Hong Kong

The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region today called on Filipino tourists planning to visit Hong Kong not to be duped by unscrupulous individuals or companies in the Philippines who promise ease of entry into countries abroad through the use of forged entry/exit immigration stamps.

The warning comes after a Filipino tourist was arrested by immigration authorities at Hong Kong International Airport on 28 October for having in her passport fake entry and exit stamps to falsely show that she had previously traveled to Hong Kong. The Filipino, who is from Batangas province and was visiting Hong Kong for the first time, was on her way back to the Philippines with her family at the time of her arrest. She was brought to Shatin Magistrates’ Court on 30 October and pleaded guilty to the offense of possession of a false instrument. The judge handling the case sentenced her to four (4) months’ imprisonment.

The immigration entry/exit stamps were allegedly forged by a company that peddles the service as a way of bolstering a visa applicant’s chances at getting a visa from certain embassies in Manila.

Filipinos should be aware that these embassies also report fraudulent visa application documents to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Consulate has made a recommendation to authorities in Manila for the investigation of the case.

Mere possession of a false instrument is an offence under Section 75 of Hong Kong’s Crimes
Ordinance and carries with it a maximum penalty of 3 years’ imprisonment.

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