IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO.446 OF 2004
(ON APPEAL FROM KCCC 5117 OF 2004)
Coram: Deputy High Court Judge Fung in Court
Date of Hearing: 2 July 2004
Date of Judgment: 2 July 2004
1. The appellant, Lastuti, pleaded guilty before a magistrate to five charges : two charges of using a false travel document, contraryto section 42(2)(b) of the Immigration Ordinance, Cap.115 (Charges 1 and 4); two charges of making a false representation to an immigration assistant, contrary to section 42(1)(a) of the same Ordinance (Charges 2 and 5) and one charge of furnishing false particulars to a registration officer, contrary to section 19(2C) of the Registration of Persons Regulations, Cap.177 (Charge 3). In respect of Charges 1, 2 and 3, she was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, and in respect of Charges 4and 5, eight months’ imprisonment. All terms are to run concurrently. She now appeals against the sentence.
2. In the beginning of 2003, the appellant came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper. Her contract was terminated after three monthsand she left Hong Kong. The appellant applied in Indonesia for employment in Hong Kong again. She assumed a false identity undera false Indonesian passport in the name of Ida Leman, born on 8 October 1979. Her application under this false identity was approvedby the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.
3. On 12 August 2003, the appellant entered Hong Kong on the strength of her false passport and represented to an immigration assistantthat she was the person described in her false passport (Charges 1 and 2). On the next day, the appellant applied for a Hong Kongidentity card and she gave her false identity in support of her application (Charge 3). In October 2003, the appellant travelledfrom Hong Kong to the Mainland, and upon her return she presented her false passport to the immigration assistant and representedherself to be the person of the false identity (Charges 4 and 5).
Reasons of the magistrate
4. The learned magistrate referred to HKSAR v. Zhang Changyong, HCMA1256/2003, per McMahon J which stated that for offences of using false or forged travel document and making representations to Immigration Departmentstaff where the misrepresentation was not trivial, a sentence of up to 15 months after plea would generally be appropriate. The magistrateconsidered that the appellant intended to circumvent controls on admission of foreign domestic workers into Hong Kong and such offenceswere serious. Globally speaking, the magistrate took 15 months as a starting point and reduced it to 10 months after plea of guilty.
Grounds of appeal
5. The appellant said that she did not alter the particulars in the passport and it was done by the employment agency in Indonesia.Further, she submitted that she had inmates who were convicted of breach of condition of stay and they were getting sentences ofthree to four months’ imprisonment.
Consideration upon appeal
6. The sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment for the five offences is not manifestly excessive. In fact, the appellant received a sentenceless than 15 months upon plea as indicated in Zhang Changyong. Hence the appeal against sentence is dismissed.
Ms Vinci Lam, GC of Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Appellant, in person