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Police probe of money laundering case vs Ylagan, Lai almost done, says Labatt

Posted on 08 December 2018 No comments
By The SUN

Hong Kong police are close to wrapping up their investigation into the money laundering case filed against former employment agency owner Ester P. Ylagan and suspended barrister Ody Lai Puy-yim relating to a massive job scam two years ago.

Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre disclosed this in an interview with The SUN on Nov 28.

 Ester P. Ylagan and suspended barrister Ody Lai Puy-yim during happier times.

“Malapit na nilang matapos yung money laundering investigation. Kailangan lang nila ang proof na na-receive yung remittances by all those fictitious-sounding people sa iba’t ibang countries,” Labatt Dela Torre said.

He said he was updated on the progress of the investigation during a meeting with the head of the Regional Crime Unit of Hong Kong Island on Nov 23. The meeting was also attended by Consul Paulo Saret, head of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section.

After the investigation, the police are expected to forward the case to the Justice Department which will determine whether the case should be filed in court.

Ylagan, owner of the now defunct Mike’s Secretarial Services, was arrested on June 7 in Western District for “conspiracy to defraud” and “dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence (also known as money laundering).”

Lai, her one-time friend and alleged adviser, was arrested on Aug 30 at the Hong Kong International Airport on her arrival from the Philippines. She is also being investigated for the same allegations.

Ylagan and Lai have been released on police bail but were required by investigators to report back on a regular basis.

The cases stemmed from complaints filed by 210 Filipinos, mostly migrant workers, alleging they had been deceived by Ylagan into paying between $10,000 and $15,000 for fake jobs in Britain and Canada.

The total number of Filipino job applicants allegedly lured into applying for the non-existent jobs were estimated to have been more, with the total amount involved reaching as much as $5million. The victims came from Hong Kong, Macau and the Philippines.

Lawyers for the complainants subsequently reported uncovering documents showing Ylagan and several other people close to her had sent a total of around $10 million to several countries as far apart as Malaysia and Burkina Faso.

The documents were turned over to the police, along with the names of the others involved in the apparent money laundering scam.

With help from the Mission for Migrant Workers, the complainants succeeded in getting legal aid to pursue their claims.

Ylagan slipped out of Hong Kong in mid-July 2016 in an apparent bid to head off a possible arrest. Before she fled, she filed a complaint with the Central Police station against a London-based business partner who reportedly duped her of $4.19 million.

She said the partner, a certain “William Clinton James,” had made her send the money to unknown people in Burkina Faso on the promise that he had jobs waiting for her recruits. In return, she was promised a British passport, 15 plane tickets to London, and a chance to explore business opportunities in the United Kingdom.

LET results out, HK teachers ‘shocked’ at low pass rate

Posted on 07 December 2018 No comments
Happy faces at the LET 2018 review in Bayanihan Centre. Lauraya is in front, with glasses 

By Vir B. Lumicao

The results of last September’s Licensure Examination for Teachers have already been released by the Professional Regulation Commission, and the low pass rate is bringing a sense of foreboding to the teachers’ group that helps administer the test in Hong Kong.

“Kaka-shock, kokonti pa lang nag-message sa akin,” Gemma Aquino Lauraya, president of the National Organization of Teachers said in a chat message. “Meron naman nag-message sa akin, iilan lang sila. Dati andami na pag ganito.”

The PRC said that out of the 90,750 who took the LET in the elementary level overall, only 18,409 or 20.29% passed the board exam. The result is comparatively much better in the secondary level, where 60,803 takers, or 48.03% of the total 126,582 takers, passed the exam.

No separate results for Hong Kong have yet been posted.

Lauraya attributed the poor results to various factors, such as the high passing mark of 75% set by the exam administrator, and the inadequate preparation by the examinees because, she said, the test required more academic brush-up.

The NOPT HK head also pointed to the high standard of competency that the Licensure Board has set, especially for generalist teachers, those aspiring to teach in the country’s public elementary schools.

“Malaking factor din po yong takers mismo, lalo dito sa Hong Kong. Andun po ang taker's educational background din, lalo na ngayong 21st century na ang standard.”

She said the poor results also boiled down to the examinees’ preparedness and attitude.

“Concentration, determination and strong will po kasi yan, eh, hindi lang naman sa review center o mentor nila,” Lauraya said.

She also said that the examinees possibly were not equipped with the desired learning competencies that they should have.

Still, she said, those who passed from Hong Kong deserved a big congratulations, considering the comparative difficulty they face in preparing for the exam. Most, if not all, are employed as domestic helpers.

“Congratulations to all passers, and to those who failed, better luck next time! Make sure to review or study hard before taking the exams,” she said.

A total of 608 examinees took the Special Board Licensure Board Examination for teachers held at the Delia Memorial School Hip Wo in Kwun Tong on Sept 30.

For the first time, an OFW working in mainland China joined the 319 elementary and 289 secondary school examinees who took the annual test. Two traveled from Macau the night before to make sure they were at the venue before 6am, when the exam started.

Cold spell to hit HK over weekend

Posted on No comments
Newly arrived migrant workers get free warm clothes from  the Domestic Workers Corner ahead of the cold snap


The BRRRR days are here again in Hong Kong, with temperatures expected to plunge this weekend, and will remain low until the rest of the week.

The forecast is for a low of 12 to 13 degrees starting tomorrow, Saturday. Sunday will be even cooler, with temperatures in the range of 13 to 16 degrees. On Monday, the mercury will dip even more, to between 12 and 16 degrees.

Rainy weather over the past several days have contributed to the onset of the cold weather.

“The northeast monsoon associated with the cold front is bringing appreciably cooler and rainy weather to Guangdong,” said the HK Observatory.

At noon today, the temperatures around most parts of the territory were reportedly four degrees lower that yesterday.

The Observatory said the day will remain cloudy with a few rain patches, but will become “significantly” cooler by tomorrow, until the middle of next week.

Temperatures will rise again by the weekend of Dec 15 and 16, hitting a maximum of 21 degrees on Saturday, and 23 on Sunday.

But for now, it’s time to bring out those thick jackets again.

Pinay claiming death threats from creditors fails to stop deportation order

Posted on 06 December 2018 No comments
Bansiles failed to bring her case to the Court of Final Appeal
By The SUN

A Filipina former domestic worker who claims to be in deathly fear of her creditors has failed in her bid to go to Hong Kong’s highest court to seek a judicial review of Immigration’s decision to deport her.
In its written judgment issued on Dec. 3, the Court of Appeal said Jamaicha Bansiles’ application failed to set out any question for determination by the Court of Final Appeal.

Justices Peter Cheung, Carlyle Chu and Aarif Barma noted that leave to go to the Court of Final Appeal may be granted only if the question involved was of great general or public importance.

Bansiled had filed her leave to apply for a new leave to appeal on Oct 3, or just a week after the CA ruled that there were no reasons to disturb Judge Bruno Chan’s rejection of her grounds for the intended judicial review.

The CA said Bansiles’ claim was not reasonably arguable and had no prospect of success.

Among Bantiles’ claims was that the Director had ignored “overwhelming evidence of violence against minorities,” that he had been biased, and had relied merely on country of origin information and not on her actual situation.

Bansiles, who came to Hong Kong in November 2006 to work as a domestic worker, remained and overstayed her visa after she was fired in April 2007. She was arrested by the police on Mar 15, 2009.

She filed a torture claim in 2009, but the director rejected it in October 2012 and her appeal to the Torture Claims Appeal Board was refused in February 2013.  But on Oct 17, 2014, the Court of Appeal allowed a judicial review and her torture claim was sent to the director for reconsideration.

Bansiles said she feared she would be harmed or killed by two people for failing to repay loans.

On Jan. 6, 2017 the Immigration director rejected Bansiles’ claim, after deciding that the risk of harm from her creditors was low. She appealed to the TCAB, but the board also refused her claim, so she went to the High Court.

On Mar 9 this year, Judge Chan dismissed the application saying the grounds were not properly supported and he was not satisfied a judicial review would succeed. 

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