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November 20, 2012

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S. Korean man bought forged ID to obtain Chinese passport

A SOUTH Korean man was tried yesterday for illegally using a forged identification card to apply for a Chinese passport, which he used 54 times to travel between China and South Korea, the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court heard.

The 52-year-old suspect, surnamed Kim, admitted that he asked a Chinese friend to help him get a Chinese passport and paid the friend 150,000 yuan (US$24,054).

He did this because his real passport was expiring and South Korea's consulate refused to renew it for him in China as he went bankruptcy and owed debts in his country.

Kim, who ran an LCD screen trading company in Shanghai, said if he went back to South Korea, he might be taken to court and restricted from going abroad before he cleared his debt. As a result, his business in Shanghai would be left unattended, Kim told the court.

To get a Chinese passport, Kim went to Shenyang City, capital of northeastern China's Liaoning Province, three times where he first got a forged Chinese ID card with the name Sun Yueqi and used the card to apply for a passport. Prosecutors said Kim received the illegal passport in January 2009. From March 2009 to August 1 of this year, he used the passport to travel frequently between China and South Korea for business, medical treatment and family visits.

Kim was caught on August 1 at the Pudong International Airport when he was to board a flight to South Korea. Customs inspectors found something wrong with the passport and questioned Kim.

"They asked me if I was Sun Yueqi. I said yes," Kim said in court. "The officer then showed me a photo of the real Sun Yueqi and I admitted I was not the man but a South Korean."

Police said they also seized a temporary ID card for Shanghai residents and a social security card from Kim.

"I asked for a passport only. I didn't want any other cards," Kim said in court.

Kim pleaded guilty yesterday but the court didn't announce a verdict. According to Chinese law, those who illegally cross the national border face up to one year behind bars and fines.


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