Immigration crime accused family allowed to travel

Last updated 12:32 10/12/2012

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Three people charged with a range of immigration crimes and perverting the course of justice were allowed by a judge to travel home to China for a birthday.

The people - members of the same family - were charged over a long-running Immigration New Zealand investigation into exploitation of migrant workers and were remanded until next month this morning.

The husband and wife along with her sister have also been allowed to travel to China during the remand to attend a 60th birthday party.

Lawyer for three family members Barbara Hunt said they were going to a party for the women’s mother in China and it was agreed they could have their passports.

She explained that the birthday was culturally significant in China.

Typically, Chinese culture does not place much importance on birthdays until a person reaches 60, which is seen is the end of a life cycle and the beginning of another.

The 60th birthday is the first to be celebrated by pomp and ceremony and a celebration is held for each decade following.

They are charged with perverting the course of justice, breach of immigration permits, supplying false information and misleading information and exploiting people entitled to work.

All were granted interim name suppression by Wellington District Court judge Mike Behrens, QC.

Immigration prosecutor Saar Cohen-Ronen asked for an extensive list of bail conditions for each including that they could leave the country if they informed the ministry when and where they were going and could not contact any witnesses.

He said the investigation had been into an immigration agency.

Hunt also asked for name suppression saying there would be hardship to the business and could also identify clients.

Lawyer for a second man Kevin Smith said his client was also going to be travelling but would be back for his next court date.

The attendance of all was excused at the next hearing.

The other two men were remanded until the same day next month.

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- The Dominion Post

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