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Internet and Email Scams

Curbing forgery of Hong Kong smart identity cards

It was reported that in a joint operation in early 2004, the police forces in Macao and Zhuhai uncovered a cross-boundary criminal syndicate specialized in forging documents, and among the articles seized were some high-quality forged Hong Kong smart identity cards.

The Hong Kong Government has been very concerned about and have attached great importance to cross-boundary criminal activities of forgery syndicates. Well-established communication mechanism is in place for the law enforcement agencies to maintain close liaison and exchange information with the relevant Mainland, Macao and overseas authorities as well as representatives of consulates in Hong Kong on issues of mutual concern, including cross-boundary criminal activities of forgery syndicates. As for the case concerned, original intelligence indicated that the target of operation would not involve any forged Hong Kong identity documents and, therefore, the law enforcement agencies were not invited to participate in the operation. However, upon learning about the case, the Immigration Department (ImmD) had liaised with the relevant Mainland and Macao enforcement agencies and obtained relevant information for appropriate follow-up actions.

As soon as forged Hong Kong smart identity cards were uncovered early 2004, ImmD has, in collaboration with the relevant Mainland enforcement agencies, been investigating the cases actively. The Government does not preclude that criminal syndicates are involved but further details cannot be disclosed while investigations are underway. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the alleged criminal syndicate was involved in cases of forged smart identity cards found in Hong Kong in the past.

Forged Hong Kong smart identity cards seized by the law enforcement agencies in early 2004 were of poor quality and defects could be spotted easily. As for the forged identity cards seized later, they are of better quality. Nevertheless, the forgers are unable to grasp the anti-forgery features which are unique to the smart identity cards, such as :

  • optical variable ink,
  • multiple laser image,
  • kineprint that enables images to change colours when viewed at different angles, and
  • high-quality laser engraved photograph on polycarbonate card body.
  • According to the Government, it is not difficult for the general public to differentiate between a genuine card and a fake one under careful scrutiny. To prevent the public and employers from being deceived, ImmD has strengthened publicity in this respect. Apart from producing posters and pamphlets for public reference, it has held talks for banks, property management companies, construction companies and law enforcement agencies. A hotline (2824 1551) has also been set up to facilitate enquires by the public and employers.