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Filipina DH who ate and slept in toilet wins 6 months’ pay from employer

Posted on 02 March 2021 No comments

By The SUN 

One of the pictures shown by Enicito to the Tribunal to prove her case

A Filipina domestic helper who was made to eat and sleep in a toilet of her employer’s Happy Valley home won a compensation of $27,780, representing six months’ loss of potential income, at the Labour Tribunal on Monday, Mar 1.

Grace Enicito, 32, who was helped by case officer Edwina Antonio from the Mission for Migrant Workers, spent close to six hours negotiating with her employer, Lau Ho-yan, who came with her husband, before striking a deal.

They then presented the proposed settlement to Presiding Officer Eleanor Yeung, who approved it, and got Lau to pay the agreed amount before the day ended.

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Naawa na rin ako sa amo kong babae kasi mabait naman siya talaga, yung asawa niya ang talagang istrikto,” said Enicito, when explaining why she decided to settle. “Pero maigi din yun na nalaman nila na labag sa batas ang ginawa nila sa akin.” (I started taking pity on my female employer because she had been kind to me, but her husband was really strict. But it was also good for them to realize that what they did to me was illegal).

Enicito also said she had been nervous the whole time as it was her first time to be in court, and she just wanted the case, which had dragged on for five months, to finish.

The helper, who left her employer’s house less than two months after starting to work with her, had initially sought compensation of more than $140,000 for the remaining 22 months of her two-year contract, but Lau stood pat on not paying up.

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But after being confronted with pictures of Enicito’s tiny sleeping space inside one of two toilets in her flat, and hints from Antonio that they would pursue the case all the way to the High Court, Lau agreed to settle for six months’ worth of pay.

Daytime shot of Enicito's 'room' with her breakfast on a plastic stool

Enicito, who arrived in Hong Kong on Aug. 21 last year, had earlier received one month’s salary in lieu of notice and six days of arrears in wages during negotiations at the Labor Department.

She moved into her employers’ 550 square-foot, 3-room flat last Sept 5, after spending 14 days in mandatory hotel quarantine.

When shown the space she was supposed to sleep and eat in, Enicito, who had previously worked in Saudi Arabia where she was given her own spacious room, knew there was something amiss, and sought advice from support groups.

She also tried to reason out with her employers, to no avail. Her employment agency, on the other hand, told her to bear with it because she would have to pay back her employers if she terminated their contract.

During the hearing of her case, the Filipina told officer Yeung that it was her employer who breached their contract and committed an illegal act by making her sleep and eat in the toilet.

She showed videos and photos, complete with dates and times, showing her narrow mattress placed right beside the toilet, and her meager breakfast placed on top of a small plastic stool which served as a table for her meals.

Lau, who is a school teacher, argued on the other hand that there was nothing wrong with the cramped toilet, and that her four previous helpers had stayed there without complaint. She said Enicito was luckier than many helpers in Hong Kong who slept in cupboards or on the kitchen floor.

The employer submitted her own photos of the toilet looking spic and span, and insisted it provided privacy for the worker. She also said the helper had signed three documents showing that she agreed to have the toilet for her room.


Yeung, however, reminded Lau that the agreements she and Enicito had signed were binding legal documents that could be challenged in the High Court.

When Enicito signified she was willing to take her fight to the High Court, the employer softened and offered four months’ pay as her final settlement. Enicito, however, refused to accept the offer.

Yeung gave the claimant and the employer time to try to work out a settlement outside the courtroom. When they returned after 3pm, they informed the officer that they had reached agreement on six months’ compensation.

Enicito served a notice of termination of her contract barely a month after moving into Lau’s flat. She said she had tried to get the couple to let her use a spare room to sleep in during the night, but they refused.

After she informed them of her decision to leave, however, the couple tried to make her reconsider by acceding to her request to use the spare room for sleeping, but Enicito said she was no longer interested.

On the evening of Oct 15, Enicito was forced to call the police after her male employer said he would take her to the airport the next morning for her flight back to Manila, and onwards to her hometown of North Cotabato. The Mission stepped in and rescued her. 


Bookings for BioNTech jabs to start Wednesday

Posted on 01 March 2021 No comments

By The SUN 

Nip and Chan say get the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks

Online bookings for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations will open on Wednesday to those in the priority groups, with the actual inoculation to start after a week, or from Mar 10.

This was announced by the Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip, who held a joint press conference with Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan earlier today, Mar 1.

He also said that 63,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine will be distributed to 830 private doctors over the next three days to make as many people to get the jabs as possible.

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In the past four days since Sinovac was offered to the public, he said a total of 20,000  residents have had their first dose of the vaccine. The response has remained “enthusiastic,” according to him, with 250,000 more people having made their bookings.

Both officials reiterated a call for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and gave assurance that all three vaccines procured by the government for residents are safe and effective.

“These have been vetted by experts as safe, effective and quality assured. The benefits of immunization outweigh the risks,” said Chan.

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Nip said: “Under the present pandemic, taking or receiving vaccination is better than not receiving vaccination, and doing it early is better than doing it later.”

More than half a million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are now ready for use

Nip said residents in the priority list will be the first to receive the Pfizer/BioN Tech vaccine, which provides an alternative to the one from Sinovac which was rolled out first.

An estimated 2.4 million people are in the priority group, which includes frontline workers, those aged 60 and above, and staff and residents in care homes.


They can choose from among seven community vaccination centres for their jabs, which are located in districts like Sai Wan Ho, Western District, Kwun Tong and Yuen Long

An initial batch of 140,000 slots would be available in the initial roll-out for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines which will end on Mar 28.

But Nip assured everyone that there is enough vaccine for everyone, and that the priority now is to ensure a safe and orderly rollout, and for the process to be speeded up.


The first shipment of 585,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech arrived on Saturday, with a second batch expected to follow within the next few days. One million doses of Sinovac came a week earlier, and was the first to be given to top officials including Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her predecessors.

Chan assured the public that everything is being done to monitor any adverse effects of the vaccine, including an investigation into an incident on Saturday, when a 72-year-old man who had hypertension was taken to hospital after developing heart palpitations.

The man remains in hospital in stable condition.

Chan said the government would follow established procedures to assess the case, and determine whether it is linked to the vaccine.

“They will then see if the patient is eligible for the indemnity fund after the assessment,” she said.

She cited the $1 billion indemnity fund that the government had set aside for anyone who experiences an adverse reaction from the vaccines. “It’s there, but we really hope people won’t have to use it,” she said.

Bookings and information for the vaccination should be made through a dedicated website: Elderly persons who need assistance in bookings or appointment scan approach nearby Elderly Community Centres or call the Social Welfare Department hotline: 2343 2255.


Filipina tourist jailed 12 weeks for overstaying nearly 4 years in HK

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The overstaying Filipina tourist was given a reduced sentence for pleading guilty

A Filipina tourist was jailed for 12 weeks today, Mar 1, after she pleaded guilty in Shatin Court to breaching her condition of stay for overstaying for nearly four years.

Defendant Alma Teves, 42, was sentenced by Magistrate Jason Wan, who said the offence she committed was serious so she had to be put in jail.

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But because of her guilty plea, Teves was given a discount of 200 days from the prescribed sentence for her offence.

According to the prosecution, the Filipina was arrested by police on Feb 22 during operations against illegal workers.

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A check of Teves’ immigration status showed that she came to Hong Kong on Apr 5, 2017 as a visitor and was allowed to stay for only 14 days, or until Apr 19.

The defendant, however, overstayed for three years and 10 months until she was arrested. The circumstances of her arrest were not disclosed. But the court heard that this was the first time she had visited Hong Kong.


The prosecutor said Teves had a clear record.

In mitigation, the defense counsel from the Duty Lawyer Service said Teves is married to a 47-year-old driver and they have a 12-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter.


The lawyer said all that Teves wanted to do now was to return to her family in the Philippines as soon as possible.

The counsel appealed to Magistrate Wan to grant the 200-day waiver of the prescribed sentence so her client could go home early. The magistrate granted the request after the prosecution did not object.

Immigration has often warned people with temporary visas in Hong Kong not to breach their conditions of stay by overstaying or taking up employment, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Immigration Director.

Offenders are liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years’ imprisonment. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties.


LBC HK head quarantined, offices shut after cashier tests positive for Covid-19

Posted on No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap


The shuttered door of LBC's Central branch in World-Wide Plaza

The head of LBC Express in Hong Kong was put under quarantine today, Mar 1, after the cargo company’s cashier tested positive for Covid-19.

LBC’s country manager, Arnold E. Cereno, confirmed the news himself. He also said LBC’s two offices in World-Wide Plaza in Central and in Yuen Long have been shut for disinfection until further notice.

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“After we learned that one of our associates tested positive, we immediately coordinated with the proper government bodies to quarantine close contacts (that includes me). We also closed down the two branches to schedule disinfecting and cleaning activities…we will only resume operations once this is done,” Cereno said in a text message.

He also said that all staff of the company will undergo mandatory testing for Covid-19 to ensure all are safe.

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Cereno said he did not believe that their 23-year-old cashier who worked in the two LBC branches was infected at work.

“I think (he) did not get it from the branch but from elsewhere kasi everyone of us is healthy, but to make sure, I asked all of them to take the test,” he said.

Cereno says all other LBC staff, including him, are in good health

The Centre for Health Protection included the case of the LBC cashier among the 14 new Covid-19 infections detected in the past 24 hours. Of these, 11 were locally acquired while three were imported.


A statement issued by CHP said the LBC staff developed sore throat, cough and headache on Feb. 26. That was the last day that he was at work. He went to the accident and emergency department of a public hospital yesterday and tested positive.

The source of his infection is unknown. 

He lives in Iau Kin Building, 48-68 Hau Tei Square, Tsuen Wan.


World-Wide House’s mall, the favorite go-to place of Filipinos who hanker for food and other goods from home, remained open today, with staff at all other shops on its three floors saying it’s business as usual with them.

No one appeared concerned that the infection at LBC would spread to other shops, like what recently happened to the posh K11 Musea Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, where a so-called super spreader in a restaurant appeared to have infected more than 40 diners, fellow workers and their close contacts.

A CHP staff said that four new infections were linked today to Mr Ming’s Chinese Dining restaurant in the mall, all close contacts of previous cases.

Two others were linked to previous infections while five have unknown sources.

The three imported cases include two female domestic helpers from Indonesia and a male returnee from Pakistan.

More than 10 preliminary positive cases were recorded.

Apart from the LBC staff, the other undetectable cases include a 54-year-old female secretary, a 30-year-old male part-time teacher, a 41-year-old security guard and a 36-year-old camera repair technician.

No date is indicated on when LBC will reopen

Details of the cases can be found here:

A total of 226 cases have been recorded in the past 14 days, Feb 15-28, including 189 local cases of which 66 are from unknown sources.

Hong Kong’s total Covid-19 tally now stands at 11,020, with 194 related deaths.

A 79-year-old male patient with chronic diseases was the latest to succumb to the disease.  The patient passed away at 9:49 pm yesterday while in intensive care at Princess Margaret Hospital




Agency staff arrested for failing to give job after collecting $30k

Posted on 28 February 2021 No comments

By The SUN 

The woman allegedly failed to provide the promised jobs to an FDH's relatives

A female staff at an employment agency was arrested on Friday, Feb 26, for her alleged failure to provide promised jobs to relatives of a foreign domestic helper after collecting $30,000 in fees.

According to a press statement released in the government website, Hong Kong Customs received information that the 45-year-old woman had allegedly claimed she could secure arrange for relatives and friends of the FDH to come and work in Hong Kong.

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But after receiving about $30,000 as fee, she failed to provide the jobs and did not return the helper’s money.

The woman was arrested and investigated by customs officers for alleged violation the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. She was subsequently released on bail pending further inquiry.


Customs reminded traders to comply with requirements of the TDO and consumers to procure services only at reputable shops.

Under the TDO, it is an offense for a trader to accept payment for a product he intends not to supply, replaces it with a materially different product, or for which there is no basis to believe he can supply it within a specified or reasonable period.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and a jail term of five years, the press release said.

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The public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account ( 




3 Filipino DHs, Pakistani tourist found with coronavirus variant

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The 3 Filipinos, 1 Pakistani and 1 Indonesian all tested positive at the airport

Three Filipino domestic workers and a Pakistani tourist (likely the spouse of a resident) who all tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at Hong Kong airport have all been found to have the coronavirus variant, the Centre for Health Protection said today, Feb 28.

The two Filipino women and one man aged 30, 31 and 34, as well as the 43-year-old Pakistani woman all arrived on Feb 26. They and a 27-year-old Indonesian women were the five imported cases among 22 new cases reported today.

Dr Albert Au from the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, said there are now 47 cases in Hong Kong with different variants of Covid-19. These include 29 with the British variant, 4 with South African, and 3 with Brazilian variants. Eleven have yet to be classified.

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More than 10 preliminary positive cases were also reported, including a 23-year-old male cashier at LBC Express in World-Wide House in Central and in Yuen Long. The CHP said the patient, who lives in Tsuen Wan, had an unknown infection source.

Four of the 17 local cases also had untraceable sources of infection, bringing to 65 the number with unknown sources in the past two weeks.

Today’s new cases, comprising 10 men and 12 women aged 1 to 71 years old, pushed up the tally of infections in Hong Kong since January last year to 11,006.


A Chinese restaurant in upscale K11 Musea mall in Tsimshatsui remained the focus of concern today as 10 more cases linked to the outbreak there had turned positive by midnight Saturday, bringing to 44 the total number from that cluster.

The new cases from Mr Ming’s Chinese Dining, believed to have started with a super spreader, included a close contact of a worker at the restaurant, two diners and seven close contacts of some patients in the cluster.

Au said about 100 close contacts had been placed in quarantine centers, meaning the number of cases could increase further during the incubation period in the coming days.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

“Meanwhile, we are still unable to get in touch with 10 diners from the restaurant and there could be a chance of community transmission from them,” Au said.

The cluster of cases in K11 Musea has now spread to 2 more shops

A 53-year-old woman who visited a Lilium by Gitone Cafe on the 5th floor at K11 Musea also tested positive. She works in Kwun Tong and lives in Ma Wan. Between Feb 22 and 23, she attended many seminars and workshops in multiple locations.

A total of nine employees, 22 diners and 13 close contacts have been infected so far, including a close contact of a diner who works in a law firm in Wan Chai and a nurse from Tuen Mun who works at a clinic in Tai Kok Tsui.

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The virus claimed one more life overnight, with the Queen Mary Hospital announcing the death of a 73-year-old male patient last night. He tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to the Tseung Kwan O Hospital last Nov 23, before being moved to intensive care at QMH.

As at 9am today, a total of 218 confirmed patients were being treated in 22 public hospitals, at the Asia World Expo community treatment facility at the airport and the North Lantau Hospital, said Dr Sara Ho from the Hospital Authority.

Ho said 17 of the patients were in critical condition, 13 in serious condition and the remaining 188 patients in stable condition.




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