Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said Thursday that the government was proposing a new category of crime for fake marriages in its possible amendments to the city’s immigration laws and regulations.
Wong also said that the government will launch a one-month public consultation on May 8 on the drafting of a bill amending the existing immigration laws and regulations.
All amendments to an existing law must be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for debate and vote. Amendments to by-laws (administrative regulations) do not require the legislature’s approval.
Wong made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an award ceremony for the Public Security Forces officers who performed outstandingly in their disaster relief tasks during and after Super Typhoon Hato pummelled Macau in August last year, and also for firemen who have worked for 10, 15 and 20 years, respectively, and have shown exemplary professional conduct. The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Fire Services Bureau (CB) near Macau Tower.
According to Wong, the police can currently only take criminal action against those involved in fake marriages based on document forgery charges listed in the existing immigration law enacted in 2004, according to which the offender faces a prison term of between two and eight years. Wong noted the existence of legal “grey areas” in such situations.
Wong said that taking criminal action against such offenders simply based on document forgery charges could not accurately reflect the nature of such offences and their negative impact on civil society.
Based on the principle that particular criminal acts should correspond to their respective charges, Wong said that the government would draft legislation to close the existing legal “loopholes” by clearly defining fake marriage so that the police will be able to carry out investigations and take legal action in line with the possible charges.
Wong said the government was therefore proposing a specific fake marriage category in its amendments to the existing immigration laws and regulations.
Wong also said the government was proposing the listing of fake marriage as a criminal act by taking reference from the relevant law in Portugal.