Sham-marriages 'money spinner' court told

Last updated 00:00 30/10/2012
'Sham marriages', court told
FAKING IT? A NSW police officer and his de facto partner have been accused of staging sham marriages and collecting thousands to deceive officials into sponsoring the immigration of their "spouses" to Australia.

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A New South Wales police officer and his de facto partner have been accused of staging sham marriages in Vietnam and collecting tens of thousands of dollars to deceive officials into sponsoring the immigration of their "spouses" to Australia.

A court has also heard accusations that Senior Constable Hoan Thien Pham, also known as Ryan Pham, suggested staging a fake break and enter so he could take more than $100,000 from his brother-in-law.

Senior Constable Pham, and his partner, Bich Tuyen Kha, who are both Australian citizens, allegedly engaged in three sham weddings - one for him and two for her - with Vietnamese citizens over 10 years.

They then applied to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to sponsor their move to Australia under spousal provisions, a Police Integrity Commission hearing has been told.

Yet Jeremy Gormly, SC, told the commission this morning that the pair never lived with any of their supposed spouses and barely spoke to them once they had settled in Australia, other than to meet up occasionally and stage sham family photographs. Advertisement

In one instance, Ms Tuyen Kha used a one-year-old child to pose for fake family photos with a man she married in Ho Chi Minh in January 2010 and brought out to Australia in exchange for $30,000.

Senior Constable Pham and Ms Tuyen Kha allegedly started the illegal practice in 2001.

With her de facto partner present, Ms Tuyen Kha married a man in Vietnam and provided DIAC with pages of documents describing their "love and happiness".

She asked DIAC to approve an immigration application for the man so they could be "reunited" in Australia and a temporary visa was granted in 2002.

In 2004 they applied for his permanent visa, declaring "ongoing love and happiness and co-habitation as husband and wife", Mr Gormly said. Yet he said evidence will show they never lived together as husband and wife and soon after the permanent visa was granted, they divorced.

Soon after, Ms Tuyen Kha married another man in Vietnam and successfully applied for his visa to resettle in Australia.

Earlier this year Senior Constable Pham travelled to Vietnam and married a young woman. They exchanged emails over several months saying "miss you so much that I want to cry now my love" and "I wish you were next to me".

Her visa application is still pending.

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In 2006 Senior Constable Pham and Ms Tuyen Kha married each other in a large wedding in Sydney but the commission was told the marriage was never registered.

A search of the couple's Lansvale home this year uncovered $19,000 cash in a wardrobe of a room Senior Constable Pham's brother-in-law was living in. CCTV footage played to the commission shows Senior Constable Pham depositing another $19,000 at a bank.

This afternoon, the hearing was played a 10-minute long intercepted telephone call between Snr Constable Pham and his brother where he asks his brother if he will stage a break and enter at Snr Constable Pham's Lansvale house.

His says his brother in law, who lives in the house, has $100,000 cash in a wardrobe supposedly from "junkies".

He offers to split it 50/50 with his brother and says he will use the cash to buy a neighboring property.

Snr Constable Pham tells his brother that he's angry because his brother in law "f--ked him over" so he wants to "f--k him back badly". He suggests ransacking the house and smashing up furniture while Senior Constable Pham and his de facto partner are out.

The brother think it's too risky and declines.

Upon being played the telephone call this afternoon, Senior Constable Pham said he was "just joking around" with his older brother.

He said he had fallen out with his brother-in-law over a failed business deal and months of unpaid rent but he never intended to stage the robbery and said he was just making up the information about cash being hidden in the cupboard and the link to junkies.

He said he wanted to seem like "the cool man in the family, that I know everything," he said.

"I was trying to impress my brother," he said.

The counsel assisting, Jeremy Gormly,SC, suggested he was lying.

"This [was] not a joke was it?" he said.

"It's a joke sir," Senior Constable Pham said.

Earlier this year, police raided his home and found $19,000 cash in a wardrobe of the brother-in-law's room. 

- Sydney Morning Herald

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