Batanguea gets 4 months in HK for forged immigration stamps
JOSEPH HOLANDES UBALDE
11/05/2009 | 04:42 PM
A Filipino woman visiting Hong Kong for the first time would be staying in the Chinese provinces jail for four months after immigration authorities found out she had fake passport entry/exit stamps, the Philippine Consulate there reported Thursday.
The tourist, who hails from Batangas province, was returning to the Philippines with her family last Oct. 28 when Hong Kong airport authorities discovered that her immigration stamp showed she had been to the former British colony a couple of times before.
According to the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, the Filipina was brought to Shatin Magistrates Court two days later and pleaded guilty to the offense of possession of a false instrument. She was sentenced to four months imprisonment.
“The Consulate has made a recommendation to authorities in Manila for the investigation of the case,” the office of Vice Consul Val Roque said in a statement.
Filipino tourists and workers are often lured by unscrupulous agencies to obtain forged entry/exit immigration stamps in order to bolster his/her chances at getting a visa from certain embassies in Manila.
As a strategy, long-time Filipino workers in Hong Kong get a better chance of getting work in Canada after showing good immigration status in the Chinese province. Often, Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong apply for caregiver jobs in Canada after two years of service.
Mere possession of a false instrument, however, is an offence under Section 75 of Hong Kongs Crimes Ordinance and carries with it a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment.
“Filipinos should be aware that these embassies also report fraudulent visa application documents to the National Bureau of Investigation,” the consulate added.
There are more than 130,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong; most of whom are working as domestic helpers in the citys urban districts. – GMANews.TV