7 May 2012

Judge questions how businessman became NZ citizen

7:28 pm on 7 May 2012

A High Court judge has questioned how a Chinese man accused of immigration fraud managed to become a New Zealand citizen.

The trial of Yan Yong Ming, who is also known by two other names, began at the Auckland High Court on Monday. He faces five charges of fraud, including lying to gain citizenship.

Mr Yan's citizenship, granted before the 2008 general election, came under scrutiny because of political support for him.

He received backing from former Labour Party MP Dover Samuels and former National MP Pansy Wong, as well as making donations to both parties.

In its opening submission on Monday, the Crown said Mr Yan was dishonest when he applied for visitor and residency visas in 2002 and citizenship in 2005.

Justice Brewer asked how Mr Yan became a citizen three years later, but the Crown said that was an issue it could not discuss.

The trial is expected to take up to two weeks.