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HK Customs officer claims marriage to Chinese woman charged with fraud was not based on love

HK Customs officer claims marriage to Chinese woman charged with fraud was not based on love

HONG KONG: A man has denied ever having a genuine marital relationship with his legal wife, a mainland Chinese woman now accused of entering a sham marriage to reunite with her alleged Hong Kong lover, a Customs and Excise Department superintendent.

The Fanling Court previously heard mainland Chinese housewife Tong Xiaohong, 32, along with married superintendent Lee Hon-wah, 53, and senior customs officer Lam Yui-keung, 46, denying a joint count of conspiracy to defraud.

The prosecution alleged that the trio conspired for Tong to marry Liu Kin-ming to defraud the Immigration Department in her application to enter and stay in Hong Kong.

The court also heard Tong recall that she told the Independent Commission Against Corruption she had an affair with Lee, who fathered her elder daughter in 2007. She also confessed that she asked Lam to arrange a man to marry her and was subsequently introduced to Liu.

Liu had testified that the marriage was undertaken strictly for legal purposes and had no other basis.

But Tong’s counsel Victor Lee suggested to Liu that he began seeing and having sex with Tong as early as late 2012, before they were married on March 4 the following year.

He also suggested that Liu accompanied Tong to medical check-ups after learning she was pregnant, waited at the hospital during childbirth, and went with her to the Immigration Department to apply for a birth certificate.

Liu disagreed, but he admitted to providing his identity card to register the baby girl at Union Hospital and to picking up the mother and daughter three days after the child was born on December 15, 2013.

He also admitted to giving a gift of a pack of nappies, but denied it was a caring gesture to Tong or her baby, adding: “I simply wanted to buy a gift.”

Victor Lee said: “I put it to you that your marriage with Tong was genuine.”

“I disagree,” replied Liu, who had been granted immunity from prosecution.

The counsel further stated that Liu’s testimony in court was inconsistent with the evidence he gave under caution to ICAC.

Liu explained that he was not thinking properly as he felt very nervous and confused after his arrest on November 14, 2014.

But Lam’s counsel Joseph Tse Wah-yuen noted that there was no mention of Liu’s anxious state throughout his entire interview with the ICAC, and that he answered every question despite having the right to remain silent. Liu agreed.

Tse also noted that Liu did not deny he fathered Tong’s second child, when the ICAC repeatedly pressed the question.

When Liu was asked the first time, he replied that the girl adopted his surname. When asked the second time about his paternity, he replied that he did not know.

“You knew the ICAC was investigating you for a sham marriage,” said Tse. “Then why didn’t you immediately tell them the girl was not yours?”

“I can’t answer that at all,” Liu replied.

The hearing continues before magistrate Colin Wong Sze-cheung.