Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Man who tried to 'sell' sister to Chinese man jailed

Michael Wright and Ligang Qiao
Wright plotted to marry his sister to Ligang Qiao for 8,000

A man who admitted trying to "sell" his vulnerable sister into a sham marriage as part of a Chinese immigration scam has been jailed.

Michael Wright, 22, from Wiltshire, was sentenced to four years after admitting immigration and perjury offences.

His sister, 24, who has learning difficulties, was put into social services care after the fake wedding at Reading Register Office was raided.

Three Chinese people were also jailed at Reading Crown Court.

Deportation order

The UK Border Agency branded Wright's plot "a despicable crime".

He was arrested at the sham wedding service on 20 August last year, as was the would-be groom Ligang Qiao, 29.

Ligang and another two Chinese nationals, Li Fan, 33, and her boyfriend Bing Liu, 30, also admitted taking part in the plot.

Ligang was jailed for 15 months, Li for 18 months and Bing for two years.

Li Fan and her boyfriend Bing Liu
Li Fan and Bing Liu were arrested on the day of the raid on 20 August

All three will be deported after serving their sentences.

Wright had met the three of them when they all worked at the same Berkshire burger bar.

They conspired together to allow Ligang to marry his sister in exchange for £8,000 so that he would gain UK residency, the court was told.

But staff at the register office became suspicious about the marriage and police and the UK Border Agency were alerted.

The court heard that Wright had also previously married Li Fan in another sham wedding in April 2008, for which he had been paid £4,000.

Wright admitted two counts of assisting unlawful entry into the UK and two counts of perjury.

'Deceived authorities'

Ligang, who lived at Mill Lane in Reading, admitted two counts of perjury.

Li admitted two counts of perjury and obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception, while Bing Liu pleaded guilty to attempting to assist illegal immigration into the UK.

Angela Binns, chief registrar at Reading Register Office, describes the ceremony

The couple were arrested at their home in Erleigh Road in Reading on the day of the raid at the register office.

Det Insp 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."

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."

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