Accused sentenced, then re-arrested

A man wanted by NSW police since skipping bail in 2006 while awaiting trial was arrested today in a Melbourne court moments after being sentenced by a senior magistrate.

Yau Pang Mok, 66, was about to walk from Melbourne Magistrates Court when two Victorian detectives armed with an arrest warrant stopped him.

Fairfax Media has learned the warrant was issued in NSW after Mok failed to appear on dishonesty charges that related to identity fraud.

Mok today pleaded guilty before deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic to two Commonwealth charges that included possessing a false passport.

The builder, of Port Melbourne, also pleaded guilty to three charges relating to making false statements in applications for first home owner grants in Victoria.

Mok has prior convictions in NSW from more than 10 years ago over a false driver's licence and a fraudulent bank cheque.

Commonwealth prosecutor Grant Schubert said Mok was issued an Australian passport in his name in 2001, but in May, 2010, he possessed another with his photo but in a different name.

Mr Schubert told Ms Popovic this second passport was purportedly certified by a justice of the peace – later found not to exist – and contained "features" from a child's passport.

When Mok attended the Australian Passport Office in Melbourne in March, 2011, to renew his original document, it was seized before he gave false contact details and left the office.

Yana Podolskaya, for the State Revenue Office (SRO) of Victoria, told the court in her summary that Mok became the focus of an investigation in June, 2009.

Ms Podolskaya said it was later revealed he successfully applied in June, 2008, for a first home owners grant under the name Yau Pan – one of three names he has been known by – for the construction of a house in Dandenong.

Less than a week after receiving a $12,000 grant, he sold another property he owned in the same suburb.

Ms Podolskaya told the court that "Pang Hua" then became the focus of another SRO investigation into a grants payment after his purchase of a house in Frankston North.

His barrister, David Langton, today said the properties had now been sold and some repayments made, but with a bank debt, penalties and interest imposed over the grants, Mok still owed about $110,000.

Mr Langton conceded the heart of Mok's offending were the passport offences, but submitted they did not involve terror, drug of customs-related offences.

In her sentencing remarks, Ms Popovic noted how she spent her "working life" dealing with unfortunate people "afflicted by any number of adversities".

She then contrasted Mok, who was a man of "considerable intelligence" who had turned that into "ways of defrauding our community and to undermine confidence in our very sacrosanct system of passports".

"All to your own ends (and) only for greed," she told him.

Ms Popovic said the passport offences displayed a sophistication that "is very alarming".

Mok was convicted and fined $3000 on the SRO charges and on the Commonwealth offences he was jailed for six months, but released on a $10,000 recognisance to be of good behaviour for 12 months.

After Mr Schubert requested that Mok be fingerprinted, Ms Popovic ordered that that be done within 30 days – but he was taken into custody after leaving the courtroom to have that process undertaken.

He was to be returned to court this afternoon to await the arrival of NSW detectives who are expected to apply on Wednesday for his extradition.

This story Accused sentenced, then re-arrested first appeared on The Age.