Recent ICAC Cases

Jun 2024
Immigration consultant conspiring with client over HK$10m investment entrant fraud charged by ICAC

A former proprietor of an immigration consultancy was charged by the ICAC today (June 25) for allegedly conspiring with others to deceive the Immigration Department (ImmD) into granting the investment entrant application of a client by assisting the latter to make a false representation about his investment of HK$10 million in Hong Kong.

Tam Chi-ming, 50, former sole director-cum-shareholder of Wealth Concepts Consultancy (Greater China) Limited (Wealth Concepts), faces one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to the Common Law. He was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (June 27) for mention.

In 2003, the Hong Kong Government implemented the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (the Scheme) to facilitate the entry for residence by capital investment entrants. The ImmD was responsible for processing the relevant applications. An applicant to be granted a permission to stay in Hong Kong for two years must have net assets of a market value not less than HK$10 million throughout the two years preceding the application; and remain invested not less than HK$10 million in specific permissible investment asset classes within six months after the granting of approval-in-principle by the ImmD (the remain-invested requirement). Applicants may apply for permanent residency of Hong Kong or unconditional stay in Hong Kong respectively upon continuous ordinary residence of or investment in Hong Kong for not less than seven years.

Applicants were prohibited from borrowing money for holding specified financial assets. In accordance with the remain-invested requirement, applicants were also not allowed to assign any interest in favour of others in the financial assets concerned. The Scheme was suspended in 2015.

At the material time, the defendant was the sole director-cum-shareholder of Wealth Concepts, which provided consultancy services to individuals for immigration to Hong Kong. In 2015, an applicant of the Scheme engaged Wealth Concepts to handle his application.

Between May 2018 and September 2023, the defendant allegedly conspired together with the applicant and others to defraud the ImmD, inducing the ImmD to grant the applicant’s application for immigration to Hong Kong and the subsequent extensions of stay in Hong Kong.

It is alleged that they dishonestly submitted a false application purporting to show that the applicant had met the investment requirement and falsely represented that the applicant had invested a total sum of HK$10 million in the bonds issued by a listed company in Hong Kong and remained the absolute beneficial owner of the investment.

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Enquiries revealed that the applicant did not have sufficient funds for meeting the relevant requirements on investment.

Had the ImmD known that the applicant had made a falsely declaration on his investment, no approval under the Scheme, as well as the subsequent extensions of stay in Hong Kong, would have been granted to the applicant and his dependants.

The ICAC corruption inquiries are ongoing.

The ImmD has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The ICAC has kept reviewing various investment entrant and talent admission schemes with the relevant government departments so as to strengthen regulating the schemes to stamp out malpractices.

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