Three Filipinos, who claimed they were enticed with a free trip to Hong Kong, now face charges of using a false document when they tried to open bank accounts.

The three Filipinos – Enrique V, Ryan S I and Maureen M G – were brought before the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on January 7 for a hearing, hongkongnews.com reported.

The defendants, in their late 20s or early 30s and who said they are call center agents in the Philippines, claimed they were offered free board and lodging and airline tickets to Hong Kong by people who are their families’ breadwinners.

But when they arrived in Hong Kong, they were told by their contacts to open bank accounts with the Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank using fake documents that showed they were employed in Hong Kong.

They were arrested when they returned to a Bank of China branch after their application to open an account was rejected. Investigators suspect the accounts were to be used for money laundering.

Principal Magistrate Peter Law adjourned the case to February 18 as the prosecution needed more time to review the case. Under Hong Kong law, the charge of “using a false instrument” carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.