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Free mammogram offered at anti-discrimination workshop

Posted on 22 February 2024 No comments


 Those who want to join the workshop may register using the link or QR code here

A free breast screening will be given to qualified women as part of a workshop on the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and Breast Cancer Prevention to be held this coming Sunday, Feb. 25 from 2 to 5 pm at the Equal Opportunities Commission Office in Wong Chuk Hang.

The workshop is open to all ethnic minority members, including foreign domestic workers.

A free mammogram service will be provided for vulnerable members of the community who are earning no more than $9,000 a month, aged 40 years and above, and hasn’t had a mammogram for two years.

Anyone who is interested in this service needs to bring a copy of their contract as well as their HKID cards.

To register, please check the poster for the url, or for the QR code that may be scanned.

This service is provided by the EOC in collaboration with the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation.

Teresita is well & safe!

Posted on 21 February 2024 No comments


Teresita is visited by Bangayan (first left) ahead of her bypass surgery

A Filipina domestic worker who has just undergone heart surgery wants it known that the operation went well, and she is feeling tired but happy.

Teresita Bautista Ganaden’s condition was made known to many in the Filipino community through a post made yesterday, Feb. 20, on the Facebook page of the Social Justice for Migrant Workers headed by Marites Palma.

The post made by SJMW administrator Alma Bangayan asked for prayers for Ganaden who was then about to undergo a bypass operation at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.

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Bangayan added a personal message to the patient, telling her that she should be able to pull through because of her strong faith in God.

Earlier today, Wednesday, Bangayan checked on Ganaden and was elated when the patient said the operation was successful.

Tapos na ang operasyon nitong Lunes, Nandito pa ako sa ospital, di ko alam kung kailan ako ma discharge,” she told Bangayan in a messenger chat. (The operation is finished, it was done yesterday. I am still in hospital and don’t know when I will be discharged).


“Nanghihina pa ako.” (I still feel weak).

Ganaden added that the bypass surgery was done by inserting a tube through her arm, and did not require her being opened up.


Ganaden, 54 years old, is feeling blessed despite the surgery as her employer of three years and three months have been very supportive of her.

But it would help if more people offered her prayers and help as she takes the painful trip to recovery.


'Lying' asylum seeker loses challenge to Immigration’s decision to send him home

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The High Court declined to review the Board's finding that the applicant lied in his application

A Filipino asylum seeker who was found to have concocted an elaborate tale about a land dispute in his family failed to get the High Court to allow him to appeal the decision of the Immigration Director and the Torture Claims Adjudication Board rejecting his claim against being sent back home.

In the judgment handed down earlier today, the High Court ruled that there was no reason for it to interfere with the Board’s finding of facts, which included various lies that the applicant, Ariel A. Palacio, had told to support his case.

Buksan ang mga tip

There was also no reasonable ground for success in his bid for a judicial review.

Palacio, 58, filed a torture claim in August 2013, after overstaying his tourist visa by two months.

He said in his application to the Immigration Department that if refouled or sent back, he would be harmed or killed by his “Uncle TaTa,” who was an adopted child of his paternal grandparents, and his children due to a land dispute.


This Uncle TaTa reportedly tried to contest the ownership of a parcel of land bequeathed to Palacio’s father and hs siblings, but lost the case. When his father died in 2008, Palacio said Uncle TaTa sent him threatening text messages, thinking that he was keeping the title to the disputed land.

Palacio said he flew to Manila to escape the threats but heard that after Uncle TaTa died in 2017, his children began making trouble for his aunts and uncles, and he felt it would be unsafe for him to return to his hometown.

He said he could not rely on local government authorities to protect him because Uncle Tata had relatives working in the city hall and the local police. He could not relocate to another place in the Philippines because of a lack of funds.


He therefore came to Hong Kong as a visitor in March 2009 and overstayed his visa until June 11 that year. The next month he filed a torture claim but it was rejected  on Aug 6, 2013. 2009.  On Aug 30, 2013 he made another non-refoulement  on all applicable grounds other than torture risk . 

Immigration thus considered his application on the grounds of violation to right to life and risk of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under the Bill of Rights, and risk of persecution under the Refugee Convention.

In its decision, the Director said there was an absence, or a low intensity of frequency of past ill treatment of the applicant by Uncle TaTa and his children; and that state protection will be available to him if he went back home.

On review, the TCAB found more serious grounds to deny Palacio’s application. The Board said that while there was indeed a land dispute, it involved the applicant’s grandfather and his siblings. The Boad also found that Uncle Tata was a brother of the applicant’s great grandfather who died in 1942.

“It was therefore against the laws of nature that Uncle Tata would still be alive in 2008, i.e. 75 years after the death of the applicant’s great grandfather,” said the Board.

It also discovered from documents that Palacio’s father was still paying tax in 2013, contrary to his claim that his father died in 2008.

In denying the claim, the Board found that “ the applicant (i) never had an Uncle Tata and no cousins born to an Uncle Tata; (ii) never been harassed or threatened in relation to a land dispute; and (iii) not of any adverse interest to any relatives who was upset about not receiving a share of land.”

Besides this, the Board upheld the Director’s finding that Palacio would be safe if he went back to the Philippines.

Despite this, Palacio sought leave to appeal the Board’s decision, saying it relied on mere hearsay in coming up with it decision. He also claimed that he was not served the hearing papers on time, depriving him of the chance to file submissions.

In reply, the High Court reiterated that its role is merely supervisory, meaning that it should only ensure that the Board had complied with the public law requirements in coming to its decision.

“The Court will not usurp the fact finding power vested in the Director and the Board,” said the court.


Filipino convicted of stealing rare bottle of whiskey

Posted on 20 February 2024 No comments


A Filipino was convicted today of one of the biggest cases of shoplifting, after admitting that he stole one of the rarest bottles of Johnny Walker whiskey, worth $128,000, from a duty-free store at the airport.

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Alan Alexander Francisco, 22 years old and unemployed, also pleaded guilty at the West Kowloon court to stealing a $4,145 bottle of wine -- an Armand de Brignac -- bringing the total stolen value attributed to him to $132,195.


Magistrate Jason Wan adjourned the case to Feb. 26 for sentencing.

Francisco was remanded in police custody where he will await his penalty.

Francisco was arrested by Airport Police last Feb 14 after taking the two bottles from the Duty Zero shop on Level 5 (airside) of the HK International Airport’s Terminal 1.


He was charged with violation of Section 9 of the Theft Ordinance.


Filipino man assaulted and robbed of jewelry in Central

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The alleged robbery happened in this part of Chater Road on Sunday night

A Filipino man reported being attacked by three unidentified assailants on Chater Road near Statue Square in Central at about 9pm on Sunday, who then fled with his jewelry worth more than $47,000 in total.

According to the police, the 51-year-old victim said he lost his necklace, bracelet and two rings to the three men who attacked him.

Buksan ang mga tip

The rings were valued at $8,200, the bracelet was worth $21,000 and the necklace, $18,000.

The victim said he did not know any of his assailants.

The police said the man was injured in the reported robbery and assault but was conscious when he was sent to Ruttonjee Hospital for treatment.


Officers tried to look for the culprits in the surrounding areas but failed to find them.

This followed a similar incident in Central at about 6pm the day before, when a foreign woman reported being robbed of the $2,500 she had just taken out of an ATM beside Pier 5 on Man Kwong Road.


According to the 46-year-old victim she was still holding the money when a man and a woman suddenly seized it from her hand, then ran away.

A local female, aged 25, was apprehended in connection with the robbery shortly afterwards, but the man managed to evade arrest.

The female suspect was taken away by the police for questioning.


5 Filipinas arrested for gambling

Posted on 19 February 2024 No comments


The arrested Filipinas are led to a police van after being arrested outside City Hall

Hong Kong police have confirmed that the five women arrested on Sunday in Central on suspicion of street gambling are all Filipina domestic helpers.

The women, aged between 41 and 54, were arrested in the vicinity of City Hall in Central.

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They were detained for questioning and may be charged in court.

The area around City Hall, particularly near the stop for bus no 13, has long been regarded as a hotspot for illegal gambling on Sundays and holidays, mostly by Filipinos and Indians.


During yesterday’s arrest, police from the Special Duty Squad of the Central Police Station seized some equipment linked to gambling with cards and a small amount of cash.

The police warned the public that it is illegal to gamble in any place outside a casino.


Street gambling is punishable in Hong Kong with a maximum fine of $30,000 and imprisonment for up to nine months.


Filipino drops asylum bid, says he just wants to go home

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A Filipino’s claim for asylum has ended with a twist -- he withdrew his application for the Court of First Instance of the High Court to hear his case.

The CFI thus dismissed Mabini Sumangen’s leave to apply for Judicial Review of the decision by the Torture Claims Appeal Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office to reject his asylum application.

Deputy High Court K.W. Lung ordered the dismissal after Sumangen indicated to the court that he was no longer interested in pursuing his claim and just wants to go back to the Philippines.

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“Before me, the applicant said that despite his problems in his country, he wanted to return to his country. He therefore asked the Court to dismiss his application so that he may go home,” the decision said.

“There is nothing left in this action if the applicant’s application is dismissed,” it added.


The decision, released by M.O. Wong for Registrar of the High Court earlier this month, said Sumangen applied for leave to apply for judicial review on March 20, 2019.

He asked for a hearing and the High Court granted it, but when he appeared in court on June 26, 2023, he made the unusual request.


“In the circumstances, upon the applicant’s request, I dismiss his application,” the judge said in his written decision.

With the case closed, the court did not discuss the details of Sumangen’s case.


‘Job hopping’ figure drops more than 3x

Posted on 18 February 2024 No comments


Filipina domestic workers having fun on their rest day 

The number of foreign domestic helper visa applications that were rejected last year due to suspected “job hopping” dropped to less than a third of the figure recorded in 2022, latest statistics from the Immigrant Department show.

From a high 1,760 in 2022 the number dropped to just 502 last year, prompting the question of whether the proposal to legislate against the practice should push through.

On May 14 last year, the government ended a public consultation on the Labour Department’s proposal to curtail alleged “job-hopping” by FDWs who terminate their employment contract to seek higher pay and better working conditions.

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Labour’s proposal was to revise the Code of Practice for Employment Agencies (CoP) to insert a section on “combatting job-hopping” by FDWs, a move that was roundly criticized by the city’s nearly 400,000 migrant domestic workers as well as their supporters in academe, legal profession and concern groups.

According to Thomas Chan, chairperson of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies which was among those who openly rejected the plan, there has been no news on it since the consultation period ended.

“Up to this moment,  (there has been) no news from the HK Labour Department about the amendment to the CoP,” said Chan.


The move to issue a legal prohibition on the alleged practice of some FDWs to change their employers at whim was first proposed by some pro-Beijing legislators who said that employers who paid a high price to get their helpers into Hong Kong were being taken advantage of.

One of them, Priscilla Leung from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) suggested setting up a mechanism whereby employers could monitor whether their former FDW had actually returned to her place of origin after termination.

Leung also suggested amending the law to allow employers to demand reimbursements from employment agencies if the FDW they hired left without completing the two-year contract.


DAB chair Starry Lee also hit out at the recruiters, claiming that at the height of the pandemic when FDWs were in short supply they were paying financial incentives of between $1,000 and $2,000 to helpers who would leave their employers and take up their job offers.

But FDW support groups like the Mission for Migrant Workers had hit back at the proposal, saying the concept of “job hopping” was a myth perpetuated by employers who wanted to punish helpers who leave them, even for justifiable reasons.


The Mission said that FDWs spend a lot of money just to be able to work in Hong Kong, and are oftentimes in debt even before they start working, so it would be foolish to suggest they would risk losing their jobs in search of better employment.

The support groups said criminalizing the alleged practice will make the plight of migrant worse as they might try to hold on to their jobs even if they are abused or exploited by their employers.


Solo parents to get child-rearing help from DSWD

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Among those looking forward to the added benefits are members of the Solo Parents group in HK

Solo parents in the Philippines will not only get cash aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), but also help in raising children on their own.

This is in line with the new DSWD support program called Strengthening Opportunities for Lone Parents Program, or Program SOLo, which will include parent-child intervention and psychological and emotional support for the single parents.

The program was disclosed by Assistant Social Welfare Secretary Ada Colico on Thursday (Feb. 15) who said the program “introduces innovations” in the area of emotional support and alternative care for children or dependents of solo parents.

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On the same day, lawmaker LRay Villafuerte (2nd district, Camarines Sur) announced that the Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) has begun working on the guidelines for the implementation of free health services for single parents.

Free health insurance is part of the additional benefits given to single parents under RA 11861, or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act.

“Alongside a monthly cash subsidy for solo parents earning the minimum wage or below and the 10-percent discount plus exemption from the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT) on certain essential purchases, single dads and moms are now entitled to free PhilHealth coverage,” Villafuerte told reporters.


The PhilHealth coverage is automatic and will apply to both working and non-working solo parents.

The other benefits include scholarships for children or dependents aged 22 years and below, and a 10-percent discount and VAT exemption for a solo parent’s purchases of essentials such as baby’s milk, diapers and doctor-prescribed medicines for their kids aged six years and below.

Solo parents also get a seven-day parental leave with pay, regardless of employment status.


(More on the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act here:

Under the new law, solo parents will include not only legitimate husbands or wives, but also partners in common-law relationships, as defined by the Family Code.

Also included in the definition are those whose spouses have been medically certified as physically or mentally incapacitated, those who have been separated from their spouses for at least six months and have taken on sole parental care and support of their children, those whose marriages have been nullified or annulled and have been entrusted with solo parental care, those who have been abandoned by their spouses for at least six months and those whose spouses have been jailed for criminal conviction.


They may also include the spouses or family members of overseas Filipino workers who have been away for 12 months, as well as grandparents and other family members who have sole responsibility over the qualified children.

An estimated 20 million Filipinos are now classified as solo parents, including about 50% of all overseas Filipino workers with children who are in Hong Kong.

A new group, the National Council of Solo Parents Hong Kong Chapter, has been set up to help provide information and support for OFW single parents in the city. The group headed by Marie Rivera, also conducts livelihood seminars and leisure activities for its members.

Those who wish to join the group or ask for information may contact them by sending a message through their Facebook page: National Council of Solo Parents Hongkong Chapter.

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