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Fil-Am jailed 30 months for trying to deposit fake US$2B check

Posted on 12 November 2018 No comments

A Filipina-American woman who tried to deposit a fake US$2 billion cashier’s check at a Hang Seng Bank branch in October last year has been sentenced in District Court to 2 years and 6 months in prison.
Elena S. Orosa, 57, who her lawyer said was a dual Filipino and American citizen, showed no emotion as Judge Charles Chan meted out the sentence before noon Nov 12.

Wanchai Tower, where the District Court is located.
Her lawyer, John Massie of Massie and Clements Solicitors, told The SUN he had yet to get advice from his client whether to appeal the case.

The gravity of the offense lies with the amount of the check and Orosa’s attempt to deposit it, the judge said. He said he was not convinced that other people were involved in the case as the defendant had alleged.
Chan said he did not believe the fake check was brought to Hong Kong by Orosa’s friend Veronica Yambao, who accompanied her to the Hang Seng Bank branch on Hankow Road in Tsimshatsui to make the deposit on Oct 18 last year.

The two were arrested when the bank staff receiving the check noticed it was a forgery. But the charge against Yambao was dropped, while Orosa was allowed to post bail after being held in custody for about three weeks.
The judge said the offense of “using a false instrument’ carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

Citing the sum of money involved and the international element in Orosa’s case, Chan said the appropriate sentence was 2 years and 6 months.

Chan rejected the defense claim that Orosa was not aware that the check was forged, and that she had no intention to cash it. He said the offense had been committed even if the transaction was unsuccessful.
Chan said he did not believe a US university-educated person like Orosa would not question why a friend would entrust to her such a check with a big amount.

Orosa tried to deposit the fake check in the account of a certain Manish, alleged owner of Great Billion Hong Kong Ltd in the Hankow Road, Tsimshatsui, branch of Hang Seng Bank on Oct 18, 2017. 

She said she did so at the request of a Filipino friend, Randy Songadan, who had no money to come to Hong Kong and deposit the instrument personally.

But on cross examination by prosecutor John Hemmings she admitted that Randy was not the owner of the check but a friend of a certain Ed Frondoso, who had contacts in Central Bank and had made the check to take money allegedly kept by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Hang Seng.

The judge, however, did not believe the defendant’s story.

Yambao, who flew to Hong Kong at the weekend for the sentencing of her friend, told The Sun she believed the Marcos angle of the story was true and regretted that the court did not give weight to Orosa’s testimony.

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Help choose the most courteous Immigration Control Officer7

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The Immigration Department is appealing to travellers to vote in the annual courtesy campaign at Hong Kong's 13 immigration control points.

An Immigration spokesman said : "The campaign will be conducted from November 19 to 25 to encourage staff to provide courteous and efficient services to the public, and will also help promote Hong Kong tourism.

"Travellers are encouraged to vote for officers who perform commendable immigration clearance services. They can obtain a ballot form from a member of staff, then fill in their own name, their travel document or Hong Kong identity card number, the date and the officer's name, and then put the form into one of the ballot boxes placed behind the immigration counters at the control point."

With the wide use of the e-Channel service at immigration control points, e-Channel users can also vote for staff members who offer commendable services in assisting them to use the automated service.  

The campaign will be publicized at immigration control points during the voting period. 

The Immigration Control Officer with the highest number of votes will be appointed as a Hong Kong Courtesy Ambassador by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.


For enquiries, please visit the Immigration Department website or call our hotline 2824 6111 or fax to 2877 7711. 

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Doble pasakit ng isinanglang passport

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Dumoble ang problema ni Annie, isang Ilongga na 42 taong gulang, may asawa at dalawang anak na nasa elementarya, nang matangay ang pasaporte niya ng mga pulis matapos ma-raid ang bahay ng lalaking inutangan niya ng pera.

Kasasabi pa lang niya sa amo na magte-terminate siya ng kanyang kontrata nang malaman niyang hindi na siya makakuha ng pasaporte bago umuwi.

Tulirong tuliro si Annie dahil balak pa niyang magtrabaho sa Hong Kong, at hindi alam ang gagawin dahil wala siyang pasaporteng maipapakita para makapag-aplay muli.

Nang bumalik siya sa assistance to nationals section ng Konsulado ay pinayuhan siyang doon na sa Pilipina mag-apply para sa bagong pasaporte, at binigyan ng paliwanag kung saan siya dapat pumunta para mapadali ang proseso.

Mabuti na lang at may nahanap siyang bagong amo na handang maghintay sa kanyang pagbabalik.

Ayon kay Annie, nagawa niyang isanla ang kanyang pasaporte dahil kailangan ng kapatid niya ng dagdag na pera para makapag-apply ng trabaho sa Hong Kong.

Ganoon na lang ang gulat niya nang tawagan siya ng mga pulis, at hilingin na pumunta siya sa Wanchai police station para magbigay ng pahayag tungkol sa kung paano napunta doon sa nagpapautang ang kanyang pasaporte.

Dahil sa nangyari na nagpatong-patong ang kanyang problema ay naisumpa ni Annie na hinding hindi na siya mangungutang muli. Pinapayuhan din niya ang mga kapwa manggagawa na ingatan ang kanilang pasaporte at huwag gamiting collateral sa utang para hindi nila danasin ang nangyari sa kanya. – Merly Bunda

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Antique’s first bar topnotcher urges OFWs to reach for their dreams

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By Rodelia Villar

A young Antiqueno has provided a spark of hope to some of her provincemates who work as overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, when she spoke to them on Oct. 20 at the City Hall grounds in Central.

Irene Mae B. Alcobilla, who topped the Philippine bar in 2014, told members of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers of how she grew up wanting to make a difference, despite being born to a poor family.
Irene Mae B. Alcobilla (center), who topped the Philippine bar in 2014, joins officers of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers after giving an inspirational talk.

She said there were 7 children in her family, and her father was a farmer, while her mother was a public school teacher earning only Php7,000 a month.

She related thinking that “someday I make a history, I will put San Remigio, my hometown, in the map.”
Alcobilla with members of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers.

Alcobilla said she wanted to be a role model for children in her hometown so she aspired to become a lawyer.

But it was not smooth sailing at the start. She lost her mother and a brother in 2008, when typhoon Frank devastated their hometown.

Despite the setback, she held on to her dream and studied hard, until she finished law at San Beda College, and then became the first student, and woman, from her school, to top the Bar.

“If we have a dream, if we have a mission in life, we should just follow that dream so we will not get lost, so that we will reach our destination,” she said. She then exhorted her fellow Antiquenos to work together and always be united.

“When Antiquenos OFW unite and work together, they can make things happen. That’s how powerful they are.”

The young lawyer also said she was touched to have been given a treat by her province mates on her 30th birthday, adding that she will “forever remember this day and time of the year when she celebrated her birthday.”

Alcobilla, who was accompanied by her sister Kristine, was met by some relatives and friends when she arrived at the group’s favorite haunt in Central. She was moved to share her own experiences after group members related hardships working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

“I always carry the name of Antique with me, wherever I go, and I wish that all of you can be with your family someday, and together you’ll enjoy the fruit of your sacrifices.”

Among the 70 people who expressed joy at meeting the pride of their province was Lily Victoriano, who said it was great to see so many Antiquenos gathered together in one place.

Roselyn Dolar said she was stirred by the guest’s message of hope, while Amelinde Berbidel said she was touched by her dream of building up Antique and seeing its people achieve their dreams in life.

The young lawyer, who now works as a professor of law at San Beda, proceeded to take took down the names of those who attended the gathering, including the towns where they came from, and promised them legal advice and assistance. All they had to do was to send her a message through Facebook.

The gathering ended with everyone singing “The Greatest Love of All”, and the group launching its first project with Alcobilla, called “Lanas Kang Kaaram sa Antique Organization.” The aim is to support and help poor Antiqueno children achieve their fullest potentials through education, inspiration and service with a vision.

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Ex-helper loses bid to stop eviction

Posted on 10 November 2018 No comments
A former domestic worker has failed in her last-ditch bid to stop her deportation after the Court of Appeal threw out her attempt to challenge a High Court judge’s dismissal of her leave to apply for judicial review.

The CA upheld on Oct 18 a decision by Judge Bruno Chan to dismiss the application of Wyllenn M. Maniboy, who claimed she would be harmed by her abusive husband if she was sent back to the Philippines.

The High Court, where the Court of Appeal is located.
Maniboy, who came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper but overstayed after her work visa expired on Sept 5, 2005, was arrested by police on Oct 7, 2016. She applied for non-refoulement, or against being sent back, 10 days later.
She said that apart from her abusive husband, her former employment agency could also get her harmed for not repaying a loan.

The Immigration Director rejected Maniboy’s claim, saying there was a low risk of harm from her husband or the debt collectors.
She appealed to the TCAB, but it was dismissed on Dec 1, 2017. The board said her case was doubtful as she failed to raise the non-refoulement claim on time and her “unconvincing and inconsistent” evidence on the debt issue and her husband’s threats.

On Dec 13, 2017, Maniboy sought leave to apply for judicial review of the Director’s and the TCAB’s decisions, citing procedural impropriety and error in law.
But Judge Chan refused to grant leave, saying the grounds she cited were all “very broad and
vague assertions… without any particulars or specifics or elaboration as to how they applied to her case or how the Director or the Board had erred in their decision.”

Undeterred, Maniboy filed a Notice of Appeal on June 19 against the judge’s ruling, saying it was unfair, and again insisting that her life was in danger.
She also told the court that despite the 12 years that elapsed since she had an “abusive relationship” with her husband, the psychological impact on her remained.

CA Vice President Wally Yeung and Justice of Appeal Aarif Barma upheld Chan’s findings that the TCAB was entitled to rule that Maniboy’s row with her husband was a family matter and her debt problems, a private one.

They ruled that there was no ground to justify a challenge to the lower court’s decision. – Vir B. Lumicao

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