Man lived under false name for eight years

Chinese national who used false name was ‘model citizen in all but name’, court hears

Wenzi Wang, of Brandon Square, Waterville, Blanchardstown, Dublin. File photograph: Collins Courts

Wenzi Wang, of Brandon Square, Waterville, Blanchardstown, Dublin. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A Chinese national who lived under a false name for eight years after buying another person’s birth certificate was “a model citizen in all but name”, a court has heard.

Wenzi Wang (38) first came to this country in 2002 on a student visa, but after his visa had expired he obtained a legitimate Northern Irish birth certificate belonging to another person and used it to obtain an Irish passport in the name Sau Kee Lee.

Wang went on to obtain a driving licence, a taxi licence, a Public Service Card and a mortgage all under this false name.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard his wife, who he first met in 2010, did not become aware of this until 2017 when she was pregnant with their second child.

The court heard that an investigation began after Wang registered the birth of this child using his real name. He had previously registered the birth of their first child using the false name.

Lawyers for the accused man submitted that their client “was a model citizen in all but name” and that while living under the false name he paid taxes, did not commit offences and did not sign onto social welfare.

Wang of Brandon Square, Waterville, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty to providing a birth certificate he knew to be false in connection with a passport application at a Garda station in Co Donegal on May 25th, 2009.

Wang further pleaded guilty to six counts of deception at locations in Co Dublin and Co Meath on dates between October 8th, 2010 and April 18th, 2017, and to two counts of giving a registrar false information at locations in Co Dublin on September 7th, 2010 and July 28th, 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of an air rifle and ammunition, and to possession of a jumper and epaulettes closely resembling those of An Garda Síochána, all at his address on November 13th, 2017.

Det Garda Emer Keshan told Gráinne O’Neill, prosecuting, that in June 2017, the accused produced a Chinese passport in his own name while registering the birth of his child.

Facial recognition

Det Garda Keshan said facial recognition software was used to match Wang to a Mr Lee who had applied for a Public Service Card in October 2016. An investigation was launched after it was determined that Wang and Mr Lee were in fact the same person.

During the investigation, the Civil Registration Office confirmed that Wang had registered his marriage and the birth of a child under the name Mr Lee.

The investigation culminated in a search of Wang’s address in November 2017, during which gardaí found numerous false documentation.

Wang was arrested and made full admissions to gardaí in interview. He told gardaí he had bought the fake Garda apparel on eBay to use as a Halloween costume.

The court heard that Wang’s status in this country was still with the Department of Justice for consideration.

Det Garda Keshan agreed with Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, that his client told gardaí he had bought the air rifle from a friend and never used it.

Mr Heneghan said his client was born in China, but came to this country on a student visa in 2002 before moving to Northern Ireland in 2004 where he worked illegally.

Counsel said that in 2009 his client’s mother became ill and he wished to visit her in China, so he purchased a legitimate Northern Irish birth certificate belonging to another person. He used this birth certificate to obtain an Irish passport which, in turn, he used to obtain other documents.

He said many people in the US from this country were living such lives as his client lived here. He submitted that while his client did make a gain for himself by deception, “nobody has made a loss”.

Judge Pauline Codd ordered a report from the Probation Service and adjourned the matter for finalisation to July 5th, next.