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Overstaying Filipina tourist loses final bid to fight off deportation

Posted on 29 October 2020 No comments

 By The SUN 

The High Court may have put an end to the Filipina's 8-year-old battle to remain in HK

A Filipina tourist who has been fighting to stay on in Hong Kong after overstaying her visa since 2012, saying her husband wanted to hurt or kill her, lost a bid to take her fight against deportation to the Court of Appeal.

In a decision on Oct 28, the CA dismissed Michelle Estrada’s appeal against a ruling by the Court of First Instance denying her second application for a judicial review of her failed attempt to stop her being sent back home.

The appeal court decision was written by Vice President MH Lam and concurred in by Justices Aarif Barma and Thomas Au.

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Estrada filed her second appeal on Sept 1 after Lam and Au threw out her appeal against Judge Bruno Chan’s dismissal of her second motion to review the Torture Claims Appeal Board’s refusal of her appeal against Immigration’s move to deport her.

In her application to appeal to the CFA, she said she did not understand the system, she did not know she needed to tell the court of her previous application, and that she really is in trouble in the Philippines but the TCAB did not properly assess her case.

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Estrada filed her written submissions on Sept 15 stating she did not intentionally abuse the court’s process, that she thought she needed to submit a new judicial review application after the first one was refused.

She also claimed it is not safe for her to return home due to a pattern of extrajudicial killings by the police with the blessings of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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“As stated in the judgment of 21 August 2020, it is well established that re-litigation by a second judicial review application in respect of the same decision is an abuse of process.  The applicant’s ignorance of the law cannot give rise to a reasonably arguable ground of appeal on the merit of her claim,” Lam, Barma and Au said.

The appeal court officials noted that Estrada’s Form 86 and affirmation dated April 3, 2018 lodged in the second judicial review that she was assisted by someone familiar with judicial review concerning TCAB decisions.

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They said she did not appeal Deputy High Court Judge Amanda Woodcock’s dismissal of her challenge to the TCAB’s decision in her first judicial review on Mar 13, 2018.

“In any event, we do not consider that there is any question of great general or public importance or which otherwise ought to be submitted to the CFA for determination in the present case,” Lam, Barma and Au said.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

Estrada last arrived in Hong Kong on Jun 13, 2012 and overstayed after her visitor visa expired 14 days later.  She surrendered to police on May 15, 2014 then lodged a non-refoulement claim (or against being sent back home) a week later, claiming her husband would harm or kill her. 

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Pinay arrested for alleged assault on employer gets lawyer

Posted on No comments

By Daisy C L Mandap 

Still shot taken from a video of the helper and the employer tussling with each other 

There was both bad news and good news today, Oct 29, in the case of a Filipina domestic worker who was taken away by police Wednesday night after tussling with her employer in Island Place Three in North Point.

The bad news was, according to a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Police, the Filipina, S.C., was formally arrested on charges of possessing an offensive weapon and assault occasioning bodily harm.

The good news is, a human rights lawyer has agreed to help with the case and is now liaising with the Consulate on helping the Filipina with a scheduled interview with her by the police tonight at North Point Police Station.

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The Filipina is expected to be given police bail while the investigation continues.

Consul General Raly Tejada, who was immediately informed of the case, said the Consulate would do its best to help the Filipina worker.

In response to a request for an update on the case by The SUN, the police spokesperson said the Filipina was arrested after the police received a report shortly after 6pm last night that the helper had pointed a knife at her employer, and also bit her.

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No complaints were recorded against the employer, and she was not arrested. The spokesperson said she did not know why the police report appeared to support only the employer’s version of events.

Both helper and employer were taken to the hospital after the skirmish, and the Filipina remained there up to early this afternoon, reportedly complained of dizziness, saying her employer had strangled her.

The employer was reportedly discharged this morning.

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The helper’s sister who managed to see the accused in hospital earlier today said she was shocked to see S.C. guarded by several officers, and with her hands in handcuffs.

According to R.C., her sister said it was her employer who had taken out the knife along with a pair of scissors, and said she should choose which of the two she wanted to be assaulted with. That was how they ended up fighting.

Before this, the employer reportedly told the helper that she should leave their house on the spot and not wait until her one-month notice of termination had lapsed early next month.

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But before leaving, the Filipina was reportedly told she should sign a blank piece of paper addressed to Hong Kong Immigration, admitting fault. The Filipina resisted, and started taking a video of their encounter with her phone, angering the employer.

Their tussling ensued after the employer reportedly tried to grab the helper’s phone.

A video uploaded by a neighbor shows the two pushing at each other, while the Filipina shouted “ate, ate,” apparently calling the attention of a fellow helper who lived nearby.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

According to R.C., the one who took the video and called the police was a local Chinese neighbor who let her sister in after she ran away from her employer, and has even volunteered to testify on the helper’s behalf.

A neighbor at the housing block reportedly offered to testify for the Filipina

Earlier, R.C. said her sister had served a month’s notice of termination to her employer, which was due to lapse early next month.

S.C., who had been with her employer for just three months but had previously worked  in Hong Kong, had reportedly complained of ill-treatment, being made to sleep in the living room, and not having any place to store her personal belongings.

She was also reportedly scared of being blamed should anything bad happens to her frisky young wards, one of whom was nearly hit by a tram recently after breaking free from her restraining hand.

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Filipina DH taken to police station after spat with employer; relatives ask for help

Posted on No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap 

C.P. being interviewed by a police officer in the lobby of Island Place in North Point

A Filipina domestic helper who appeared to have figured in a fight with her employer after being fired and forced to sign a blank document, was taken away by a police car late on Wednesday night.

Frantic friends and family member of the Filipina with the initials C.P., appealed for help as they uploaded videos of police talking to the helper in the lobby of Island Place Three in North Point shortly after 9pm.

Another video reportedly taken by a friend of the helper who lives in the same building showed two woman apparently grappling with each other while shouts of “ate, ate” (sister, sister) could be heard in the background. Link here: https://www.facebook.com/messenger_media?thread_id=100000520327080&attachment_id=353634805703073&message_id=mid.%24cAABa8y99z6h7ojzeOF1cPeQoz2P1

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The video quickly made the rounds on social media, but came to the attention of people in Hong Kong only after it was shared by an overseas Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia who said she didn’t even know the people involved.

Consul General Raly Tejada, who was informed about the case by the group, Domestic Workers Corner, had reportedly asked anyone who might have witnessed the incident to come forward and help shed light on what happened.

Friends and relatives of the Filipina also reached out to the Mission for Migrant Workers and The SUN.

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Eventually, despite efforts by friends who reportedly rushed to the scene in an attempt to intercede on the Filipina’s behalf, three police officers took her away for questioning.

Three officers took C.P. away for questioning

According to C.P’s sister who also works in Hong Kong, the helper had served a notice of termination to her employer nearly a month ago, and was due to leave early next month.

C.P., who had been with the employer for just three months, had reportedly complained of ill-treatment, being made to sleep in the living room, and not having any place to store her personal stuff, except for the tiny space under the kitchen sink.

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She also complained of finding it difficult to rein in her young, frisky wards, one of whom nearly got hit by a tram just days ago.

Shortly before the fighting incident, C.P. was reportedly told by her employer that she was being released that same night, but she should first a sign a blank document addressed to Hong Kong Immigration, apparently a notice of termination.

C.P. refused to comply, and when her employer persisted, started recording their conversation with her phone. Seeing this, the employer reportedly got angry, and tried to snatch the phone, resulting in the fight that was caught on video.

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After police were called, C.P. was taken down to the building’s lobby where the police spoke with her.

C.P.’s sister said a couple who knows her sister rushed to Island Place but their request to speak with the helper was ignored by the police.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

She is set to get in touch with the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section later today to ask for help in finding out what the police intends to do with her sister. She hopes they will not charge her with any offense, saying all that her sister wanted to do was to leave her employer in peace. 

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Maid fined $2k and ordered to return $5k left in ATM

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The helper admitted taking $5,000 left in an ATM by a bank customer

A 50-year-old Filipino maid who stole $5,000 left by its owner in an ATM machine in Aberdeen last December was fined $2,000 and ordered to return the victim’s money after she admitted the offense on Wednesday, Oct 28, in Eastern Court.

The maid, D.J. Ellarda, pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared before Magistrate Bina Chainrai.

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She was arrested on Aug 21 after an eight-month-long tracking by the police.

The theft took place around 3:38pm on Dec 23 last year after Chinese housewife Irene Lo, 63, withdrew $5,000 cash from an HSBC ATM booth on the first floor of Aberdeen Centre on Chengtu Road, Aberdeen.   

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After taking back her ATM card, Lo left without taking the money from the machine. She returned after realizing her negligence, but the money was gone.

The victim enquired with the bank and its staff confirmed that the transaction had been completed. She then reported to the police.

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A police review of the CCTV footage showed the victim withdrawing the money at the ATM while the defendant was right behind her, waiting for her turn.

After Lo left, the defendant tried to withdraw cash but could not insert her ATM card into the machine and found out the victim’s money was still in the cash dispenser.

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First, the defendant hesitated. Then she pulled out Lo’s cash and withdrew her own money. When she was done, she left taking Lo’s money as well.

Police reviewed the ATM transaction record and found out the defendant’s bank account number and her name. She was later traced to her employer’s house, where she was arrested.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

The prosecution said the defendant admitted the offense during investigation and offered to give the victim the $5,000 that she lost.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said his client was remorseful, admitted the offense at the earliest opportunity and was willing to compensate the victim. 

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HK Covid-19 data show all but 3 of the deaths involved elderly

Posted on 28 October 2020 No comments

By The SUN 

HK data shows those aged between 30-39 are most prone to catching the coronavirus

Statistics released today, Oct 28, by the Hong Kong government show that young people aged between 30 to 39 are at the highest risk of catching Covid-19, but the elderly are more likely to die from the disease.

The data was released by Food and Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan in a written reply to Legislative Council president Pierre Chan, who asked for information on Covid-19 infection in Hong Kong since January this year.

According to government statistics, out of the 5,296 Covid-19 confirmed cases in the city, 877 patients were aged between 30-39. This was closely followed by those in the 20-29 age bracket with 863, 844 for those aged 50-59, and 807 for those aged 40-49.

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Those aged 60-69 registered a total of 785 cases.

However, the mortality rate among the elderly was significantly higher, and spiked sharply in the third wave of infection which started in early July.

Out of the 105 deaths recorded since January, 102 involved patients who were 60 years old or older. Of these, 96 occurred only starting Jul 1.

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Nearly half, or 42, of the deaths recorded in the third wave were patients aged 80-89 years old, followed by 27 among those who were between 70 and 79 years old, 20 for those above 90 years old, and 13 for those aged 60-69.

All but 3 of the 105 deaths recorded are patients aged 60 and above

Significantly, younger people were still more susceptible to catching the virus even in the latest wave of infections, registering 2,940 cases starting on Jul 1. Less than half, or 1,150 of the cases recorded for this period, involved those aged 60 and above.

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The dire effects of the third wave, which prompted the strictest gathering restrictions ever imposed by the government, are clearly shown by the statistics.

Between January and February, when the first wave was recorded, there were only 95 cases in total. Between March and June when the second wave occurred, the number of cases rose to 1,111. But for the third wave which began on Jul 1 and is just now waning, the total number of cases so far is 4,090.

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Significantly, no medical frontliner appears to have been infected in the line of duty, according to the report.

Of the 39 confirmed cases in public hospitals, including two doctors, 11 nurses and 26 staff members from the support or executive ranks, most were “believed to be linked to infections in the community and not infection at hospitals,” said the report.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang Kwentong Dream Love

Another eye-opener was the data on the number of patients who filed for compensation, citing their infection as employment-related. Of the 217 workers who filed compensation claims, not one was a domestic helper, when those afflicted among Filipino migrant workers alone should number nearly 100.

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