SCMP Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Officials on trial over wrongly jailed teenager


Two immigration officers and an interpreter were accused on Tuesday of threatening a teenaged US resident to admit to travelling on a forged mainland passport.
Chief Immigration officer Lung Kin-sang, 37, Immigration Assistant Wong Chui-kam, 28 and part-time interpreter Wong Kin-ang, 45, deny one joint charge of doing acts intending to pervert the course of public justice.
The court heard the trio had intimidated Lin Qiaoying, 18, who had emigrated to the US in 1995, into confessing to using a forged PRC passport while in transit to US from her home in Fuzhou on October 9 1999.
Ms Lin was allegedly accused of not being Lin Qiaoying and forced to admit to be ''Chan Lai-na'' by the three accused during further enquiries brought up by an airline worker.
Prosecutor Michael Lunn, SC, said her passport was issued by the Consulate of China in New York in 1997.
Lung and Wong allegedly threw a meal box into rubbish bin and told Ms Lin to eat her meal in the bin if she did not sign the confession.
Wong was alleged to have threatened to send Ms Lin back to the mainland for execution or to jail her for life in Hong Kong.
Ms Lin was forced to confess that she had bought the alleged forged PRC passport from a man in the mainland for US$20,000.
Based on the admission, Ms Lin was sentenced to four months imprisonment in October 1999. After serving two months in jail, she was granted bail pending appeal in December.
Her conviction was quashed on January 31 last year in an appeal not opposed by the prosecution. Ms Lin was called back to Hong Kong at the request of the Government to testify against the trio.
The trial continues.