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‘Life in the UK’ immigration spy cheats ordered to pay back £100,000 | Immigration Matters

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Two fraudsters who used James Bond-style spy gadgets to help people pass immigration tests have been told to pay back £100,000 or face a second jail term, This is Local London reports.

Steven Lee, 37, and Rong Yang, 29, sat outside Wimbledon library in a BMW laden with computer equipment, transmitting correct answers to candidates taking a Life in the UK test in 2008 armed with button-hole cameras and earpieces.

At Kingston Crown Court on December 22, Lee was ordered to pay back £30,000 and Yang £70,000 or face a prison sentence of six and 18 months respectively under the proceeds of crime act.

The pair have already served eight-month sentences handed down in November 2008.

The test is the last step towards earning UK citizenship with successful candidates then allowed to apply for a British passport.

Police were tipped off by a passerby who saw the pair using the equipment from their car parked in Wimbledon Hill Road.

Initially they thought they were running a cashpoint fraud, obtaining card details of unsuspecting users, but it later emerged they were helping Chinese nationals take the test in Wimbledon library.

Police quickly feared the gang were earning thousands of pounds as part of a sophisticated network that could be spread across the UK.

Sergeant Dominic Washington from Merton police said: “Lee and Yang were clearly involved in a sophisticated operation using some of the best surveillance technology available worth thousands of pounds.

“We believe that we have uncovered an established criminal enterprise that may be in operation in other parts of the country.”

As part of the Life in the UK test, applicants are asked multiple choice questions about day-to-day life and traditions in the country. It is supposed to allow them to demonstrate they have a basic command of English and knowledge of the country. 

Immigration Matters Comment

If migrants want to be granted ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ (permanent residency) or ‘British Citizenship’ so badly why not study for the Life in the UK test and answer the questions legitimately?

You have years to prepare for the ‘Life in the UK’ test, which is not that difficult to pass if you take the time to read the literature and apply yourself.

The vast majority of migrants play by the rules and take pride is learning about the country they intend making their permanent home.

If you need any immigration advice or help with Studying in the UK, Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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