Last year, we published an entry about Michael Wright, 22, of Swindon, who 'sold' his disabled sister to a Chinese man who hoped to secure residency through a UK marriage visa. Police stormed Reading Register Office to stop the sham wedding, however, moments before the 'couple' could say 'I do'. They arrested Wright, would-be groom Ligang Qiao, 29, and two other Chinese conspirators - Li Fan, 33, and boyfriend Bing Liu, 30.
Apparently the four convicts met while working at a fast food restaurant. First, Wright agreed to marry Li in April 2008 for £4,000. He then agreed to sell his 24-year-old disabled sister to Ligang in August 2009 for £8,000.
BBC News reports the four admitted a variety of immigration and perjury offences at Reading Crown Court and received lengthy prison sentences this week: the court sentenced Wright to four years; Ligang to 15 months; Li to 18 months; and Bing to two years. Ligang, Li, and Bing face deportation back to China at the end of their sentences.
After sentencing, Detective Inspector Andy Cummins from the UK Border Agency said:
"This was a despicable crime.
"Michael Wright attempted to exploit a member of his own family for his own financial gain. His motive was purely greed.
"The other members of the gang also sought to take advantage of a vulnerable woman for their own benefit."
Whilst Becky Owen, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said:
"The sentences today reflect the seriousness of the arrangements orchestrated by Wright and the other defendants.
"Together they deceived the authorities to enable the Chinese nationals to live in the UK unlawfully.
"In Wright's case, his victim was extremely vulnerable and his actions showed a preference for financial gain over her well-being."
** UK Marriage Visas - additional information & advice **
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