Woman paid €22k for false documents for Irish passport

By Brion Hoban

A Chinese national who paid €22,000 to obtain false documentation in order to receive an Irish passport has received a fully suspended sentence.

 Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Chunling Chen (33) was given assurances that the “somewhat exploitative operation” was a legitimate process and that she could obtain a passport by paying large sums of money.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

 Chen, of St Peter’s Road, Walkinstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to providing false or misleading documentation during a passport application at the Passport Office, Stephenstown, Balbriggan, on October 29, 2015.

 She also pleaded guilty to possession of a false instrument, to wit a false Irish nationalisation certificate, at her address on July 17, 2018. She has no previous convictions.

 The investigating garda told John Byrne BL, prosecuting, that Chen had been in Ireland since around 2008.

Chen knew she was illegal in Ireland in 2015 when she made the application for a passport and had never registered with immigration.

 Chen was put into contact by another Chinese national with individuals who obtained for her the documentation needed to obtain a passport. Chen paid a total of €22,000 to the individuals for the documentation.

 The accused was detected by gardai as part of a wider investigation, the focus of which was the facilitator of false documentation.

Her address was searched in 2018 and gardai discovered the false Irish nationalisation certificate.

The investigating garda agreed with defence counsel that Chen believed she could obtain a passport by paying large sums of money and was given assurances that this was a legitimate process. He agreed there was “an element of victimisation” in this case.

Counsel submitted that his client had a child in 2012 who resides in China and whom she has not seen in seven-and-a-half years. He said that part of the reason she was trying to nationalise as an Irish citizen was to see her son.

The court heard that Chen gave birth to twins three or four weeks previously and that one of those children died after childbirth.

Judge Pauline Codd said this was a “somewhat exploitative operation”, but said she found it hard to accept the accused did not know this was not legal.

She accepted Chen had not obtained the passport for criminal purposes.

Judge Codd sentenced Chen to two years imprisonment which she suspended in full.

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