Saturday, 26 July 2008

Trauma and tall tales from around the world

Cambodian's fourth wedding ruled a sham

National Post
Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saquanh Thach is a Cambodian-born Canadian man who met a woman in January 2003 while on a return visit to his homeland. Their relationship quickly became an intimate one, he said, and after he returned to Canada he proposed marriage. That July he flew to Cambodia for their wedding and then sought to have his wife join him in Canada.

The process of sponsoring a wife to come to Canada was not new to Mr. Thach. It was, in fact, his fourth marriage and his fourth attempt to bring a spouse here, court documents say.

He first married in Vietnam in 1974 and had three children with the woman in Canada. They separated in 1980 without obtaining a divorce. The year of his separation, he married his cousin in Cambodia and came to Canada with her in 1988. They divorced in 1996. He married again in 1999 and twice tried to get that woman to Canada. His first attempt was scuttled because he had never divorced his first wife. He finally obtained that divorce and tried again. This time he was refused because the marriage came before the divorce.

He said he went back to Cambodia to remarry his wife but when he got there he found she had married someone else. It was on this visit to Cambodia he met his next wife.

After he married her, he was arrested in Cambodia, apparently because of a lawsuit filed by his third wife. He settled that matter by paying her $13,000, a sum that included compensation for not getting her into Canada, according to court documents.

Finally back in Canada, Mr. Thach sponsored his new wife for permanent residence status in August 2003. Over the years, they spoke on the phone and wrote letters, he said. He visited her twice.

Meanwhile, a Canadian visa official interviewed her and ruled that she failed to demonstrate a genuine relationship with Mr. Thach. The officer found inconsistencies and contradictions and evidence of false documents. There was also concern over a statement she made about paying Mr. Thach $100,000 once he got her into Canada.

Officials deemed it to be a sham marriage and he appealed to the Federal Court. Deputy Judge Maurice E. Legace dismissed his appeal.

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