October 27, 2017
Shatin Magistracy Image: Hongkong News
FOR over 22 years, she lived as a Hong Kong resident after marrying a local man and then having a son with him.
However, it was discovered that her husband in the Philippines was still alive and she was not a widow like she declared when she married the Hong Kong man.
T.G. Lam on Oct. 16 pleaded guilty to the offense of signing a false notice for the purpose of procuring a marriage at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts.
The prosecution said Lam misled the Immigration Department when she declared that she was a widow so she could marry a Hong Kong man.
Lam first came to Hong Kong as a domestic helper, and on Aug. 21, 1994, she married a Hong Kong resident. The following year, she gave birth to a son. Owing to the marriage, she also became a permanent resident in the city, and was able to get a non-domestic help job.
However, it was later discovered that Lam was still married in the Philippines as her Filipino husband was still alive. Informed of the facts of the case, Acting Principal Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said the case was “serious” and asked the prosecutor if any other action would be taken against the defendant.
The prosecutor only said the defendant has a 22-year-old son here in Hong Kong and that she has obtained her permanent residency in Hong Kong.
To which Judge To replied that Lam was able to do so because “she cheated to procure this by this marriage.”
“This is the benefit of her false representation ,” said Judge To.
The prosecutor said the Immigration Department could not deport her back to the Philippines.
“So nothing is being done as of the moment?” said Judge To.
Lam’s duty lawyer argued that the case of the prosecution was that the defendant’s first marriage was not dissolved.
But Judge To said the case seemed more serious, noting that the defendant was apparently enjoying “the fruit of a poisoned tree”, and as bigamy was illegal in Hong Kong, the marriage was invalid.
The magistrate said that before sentencing Lam, he needed more information about the case and remanded her in jail custody in the meantime.
The defendant’s duty lawyer sought bail for Lam, saying the Filipina was able to offer $1,000 as bail and will be able to report to the Mong Kok Police Station regularly.
The defense added that before this case, the defendant had a clear record in Hong Kong.
“The reason she was not able to seek [dissolution of her marriage in the Philippines] was that when she came here, she lost contact with him,” the duty lawyer said. Judge To denied Lam’s bail application, saying the offense was serious as it constituted a “mockery” of Hong Kong’s immigration laws.
He called for a background report on the defendant and more information about the case. He adjourned Lam’s sentencing to Oct. 30.
Vice Consul Robert Quintin, meanwhile, reminded Filipinos to secure proper and legal papers before entering into any civil contract in Hong Kong.