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Retired British doctor accused of indecent assault on FDH during massage, whipping sessions

Posted on 07 March 2021 No comments

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

The hearing of the case in Eastern Court has been extended for 2 more days

Sordid tales of sexual assaults allegedly committed by a retired British surgeon on his former foreign domestic helper during a “body check-up”, massage and whipping sessions, were heard in Eastern Court on Mar 4 and 5.

The allegations against Dr. Brian Drew Apthorp, 83, came from his alleged victim, a Filipina domestic worker in her ‘30s, who worked for him between September 2018 and August 2019.

The helper, referred to only as "Miss X", gave evidence during the first two days of the trial of Apthorp on two indecent assault charges before Magistrate Daniel Tang. 

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The trial, which was originally set to last for two days, will continue for two more days, on Apr 21 and 22.

To bolster its case, the prosecution presented four video clips secretly taken by the helper showing her massaging a fully naked Apthorp. In one of the videos, a hand which Miss X identified was hers, was pulled and made to hold the man’s exposed genitals.

Several devices said to have been used during the “Whipping Thursday” sessions were also presented in court. The prosecution said the tools were seized from the doctor’s house on Shouson Hill Road in Wong Chuk Hang during his arrest.

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Apthorp, who denied the charges, chose to defend himself. During his cross-examination of his accuser, the still sprightly defendant tried to portray himself as the victim, saying it was the helper who forced him to submit to the whipping sessions.

“I was so depressed I could not complain,” he said, adding it was Miss X who chose the tools that were used during the whippings.

He did not deny making the helper submit to a body check and pap smear, but insisted he explained to her that the procedure was meant to protect her from HPV (human papillomavirus), an infection that commonly affects the genitals.

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He ended his questioning by accusing the helper of stealing an electric fan worth $800, creating trouble in his house, and extorting money from him. He cited as proof a personal injury claim for $169,000 that she filed against him at the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Stung by the accusation, the Filipina asked the magistrate to allow her to speak at the end of her testimony. She then tearfully lashed out at her alleged tormentor.

Hindi ko ginagawa ito para sa sarili ko kundi para sa lahat ng mga foreign domestic helper na nagtrabaho sa kanya at inabuso niya,” Miss X said.

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(I am doing this not for myself but for all the foreign domestic helpers who had worked for him and were abused by him).

She also said her experience had left her so distraught that she needed counseling and was unemployed for more than a year.

The alleged offenses happened in a house on ritzy Shouson Hill (file)

During questioning by the prosecutor, the helper gave details of how her elderly employer had allegedly touched her breasts, then stuck his fingers in her genitals while pretending to do a body check on her the day after he signed her contract in September 2018.

When the magistrate asked her how she knew the accused had inserted fingers into her and not a medical tool, the helper said she was a mother, and knew how it was like to undergo a medical check-up.

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She said the experience left her scared but Janice, a fellow Filipina helper who was then working for Apthorp, told her not to worry as “it was just a regular pap smear.”

Then in November of that year, after she had moved into Aprthorp’s house, she started doing daily body massage on the elderly man, who is said to have a pacemaker implanted in his chest.

During one of these sessions, which always started at 9am, the employer told her to pinch his nipples. She said she complied, then left when he saw him masturbating.

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The next time, she said he directly asked her to help him masturbate, so she tried to run away.

Pero nang akma na akong aalis, hinila niya ang aking kamay at nilagay niya sa kanyang ari. Hindi ko mahawakan kasi ako ay nandidiri. Pero hindi ko din mahila kasi tataob ako sa kanya,” she said.

(But as I tried to leave, he pulled my hand and put it on his genitals. I didn’t want to touch it as I felt disgusted. But I also couldn’t pull it way because I would land on top of him).


Afterwards, she said she got scared because Apthorp would shout at her whenever she resisted. He alternated this with pleas of “help me empty my balls” each time she tried to struggle.

In December, she said the employer decided to punish her for resisting his orders. He allegedly told her to cut and pull off all the bamboo trees in his garden, then haul them up several flights of stairs to dump them by the roadside.

Later, when he saw her taking a lunch break, he allegedly told her to stop and to pull down several heavy folders from her room, as further punishment.

She said the physical ordeal left her feeling scared of being "punished" again that she began submitting to his demands.

That same month, the employer initiated the weekly Whipping Thursday session, during which she was told to use numbered tools to whip him around the buttocks as he stood in front of a mirror. The whipping would then be followed by the sleazy massage routine.

The helper said she was made to massage him daily, except on days when Apthorp’s girlfriend was around. 

The alleged sexual assaults lasted until early April, 2019, when Apthorp left for his annual vacation in Europe.

Miss X is being helped by Help and Legal Aid in pursuing her cases

Miss X, who said she had been so traumatized and shamed by her experiences, took the chance to seek help. She consulted non-government organization Help for Domestic Workers, and sent them her videos.

On Jul 29, 2019 she emailed a notice of termination to Apthorp, who was then still on vacation. In turn, the employer decided to fire her the next month.

With Help’s assistance, the helper filed a complaint with the police, then applied for legal aid to pursue a personal injuries claim against Apthorp. The court was told that she is also being helped by RainLily, a shelter for abused women.

Two prosecution witnesses are set to be called to give testimony when the hearing resumes. Then Apthorp, who is on police bail, can give evidence in his defense if he so chooses.

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Covid-19 cases down to 8, including 2 FDHs

Posted on 06 March 2021 No comments

 By The SUN 

Covid-19 testing area at HK Airport

Hong Kong health authorities reported eight new Covid-19 cases today, Mar. 6, bringing the city’s tally to 11,075.

Half of the cases were imported, and included two foreign domestic helpers. One is a 41-year-old woman who arrived from the Philippines and tested positive at the airport although asymptomatic.

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The other one is 46-year-old Indonesian helper who developed symptoms on Mar 4 and was found infected on arrival at Hong Kong airport yesterday.

2 new cases - 1 confirmed, the other preliminary - are linked to K11 Musea

The two others are returnees who were both found to have the coronavirus variant. One is a one-year-old baby girl who arrived from Pakistan via United Arab Emirates, and the other is a 56-year-old woman from India. Both had no symptoms.

Of the four local cases, two were of unknown sources.

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One is a 34-year-old computer technician who used a ground floor washroom at K11 Musea mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, site of a recent cluster of infections. 

The patient also visited at least two restaurants in Wanchai and attended a property investment seminar where there were around 50 participants. 

He lives on Heard Street in Wanchai and works in Lincold House in Taikoo Place.

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The other is a 75-year-old man retired man who lives in Fu Ning Garden in Tseung Kwan O and developed symptoms on Mar 3. Before testing positive he visited several restaurants in TKO and on Wanchai Road.

The two linked cases are both children of a previously confirmed patient. Their schools, St Paul’s Co-Educational College and St Paul’s College, have been asked to suspend classes for two weeks.

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More than 10 preliminary positive cases were also detected, including a 56-year-old doctor who has clinics in Tuen Mun and Kwai Fong and lives in Tai Kok Tsui. He visited two hostels for the elderly during the incubation period.

Another case is a 32-year-old computer programmer at a company in Tsim Sha Tsui. He watched a movie on the fourth floor of  K11 Musea and also used a toilet there.


A third case is a 73-year-old retired man who visited several restaurants in Kowloon and lives in Regency Park. Another is a construction worker at the Chek Lap Kok airport. More than 30 of his colleagues were deemed as close contacts and moved to quarantine.

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55-year-old woman dies of stroke 3 days after getting Sinovac jab

Posted on No comments

By The SUN 

The woman died at Kwong Wah Hospital early this morning

The Hong Kong Health Department has reported the death from an “acute stroke” of a 55-year-old woman, days after receiving the Sinovac coronavirus jab.

In a statement issued today,  the DH said the woman had a history of chronic illnesses. She suffered a stroke yesterday, Mar 5, and was admitted to Caritas Medical Centre.

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She was later transferred to Kwong Wah Hospital where she had a cardiac arrest and passed away early this morning.

The woman received her Covid jab at the Kwun Chung Sports Centre on Tuesday.

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A co-convenor of the expert panel looking at possible side-effects from Covid vaccination, Ivan Hung, has said the deceased had high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol.

He said the mass vaccination which kicked off two weeks ago should continue since they don’t know if the woman’s death was related to her having received the Sinovac jab.

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He revealed 17 of around 61,500 people who had the Sinovac jab in the first week had experienced serious side effects, but most have recovered and people have no cause to worry.

Hung said the experts panel will discuss the case on Monday.

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Earlier, the panel ruled out a connection between the death of a 63-year-old man from an apparent heart attack and his having been vaccinated with Sinovac earlier.

The man, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, was reportedly found with clogged arteries after he died, but the panel is still looking into the exact cause of death.

Dr Chan admits fewer people are booking for a jab after the man's reported death 

Separately, Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan admitted in a press interview that the number of people applying to get the vaccine has dropped “a little bit” after the man’s death.

“There’s still bookings everyday, but it has slowed down a little bit and we understand the situation,” Chan said. “The public wants to understand the situation a little bit more.”

Government figures show that the number of those who booked online for a jab dropped from a peak of 18,000 on Tuesday to around 6,000 Friday. 

Chan urged anyone with health issues and are unsure about vaccination to consult their doctor.

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Phl agencies sent 80% fewer DHs to HK last year amid pandemic

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Filipino workers lining up at Polo: Actual drop in their numbers in HK was just 7%

Deployment of Filipino domestic helpers to Hong Kong took a deep dive of nearly 80% last year due to several factors that were mostly related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration database show only 32,263 workers were deployed by Philippine recruitment agencies to Hong Kong last year, down sharply from the 159,107 deployed in 2019.

But the drop of 126,844 refers only to Filipino DHs who did not pass through agencies in the Philippines, largely as a result of Hong Kong’s policy shift last year that allowed terminated workers to remain here and process new work contracts.

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The actual drop in the number of Filipino DHs working here last year was only more than 15,000, according to Hong Kong Immigration figures, accounting for just about 7.5% of the total workforce.

And there are already signs of improvement with the number of Filipino DHs rebounding to 206,481 in February, as 1,700 of them arrived in Hong Kong within the month.

The big drop was in the number of Filipino DHs who left the Phl amid the pandemic

The Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies, which shared the POEA data, described the shrinkage in deployment from the Philippines as “shocking.”

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Thomas Chan, president of the HKUEA, cited the following as possible contributing factors:

·      Greatly reduced recruitment in the Philippines due to lockdown in many areas outside of Manila;

 ·      Drop in demand in Hong Kong for Filipino due to the high costs of agency fee, swab test and 21-day quarantine imposed on employers;


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·       Employers’ worry that the workers would test positive on arrival, prompting them to hire those who were already in Hong Kong

·       Lengthier processing of work contracts in the Philippines, which led to lots of visas being cancelled because employers could not wait.

The POEA statistics showed that rehires, who make up the bulk of the deployed workforce, shrank to  as low as 18,923 last year from 113,630 a year earlier.

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Again, this just indicates the huge number of FDHs in Hong Kong who were able to process new work contracts on site without having to return to the Philippines and go through agencies again after being terminated.

The so-called “agency hires”, or those who left the Philippines to work in Hong Kong for the first time, slipped from 45,443 in 2019 to 13,336 last year. 

This was the result of intermittent lockdowns between Metro Manila and the provinces, and the tightening of restrictions for travel to Hong Kong.


There were only four “direct” hires – or those who did not go through recruitment agencies - last year, compared with 34 a year earlier.

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Immigration unveils contact-less applications for FDH visas

Posted on 05 March 2021 No comments

By The SUN 

Immigration wants fewer FDH visa applicants visiting their offices

The Immigration Department launched today, Mar 5, a new scheme of processing contact-less applications for foreign domestic helper visas.

The Smart Renewal service allows persons who apply online for a visa extension or renewal for an FDH, to skip going to an office of the Immigration Department to collect the visa and pay the fee, once their application is approved.

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This new service is available for FDHs who are (1) renewing their contracts with the same employer; (2) are to complete the remaining period of the current contract; or (3) applying for a deferral of home leave under the emergency guidelines during the pandemic.

To avail, applicants may log in to Immigration’s dedicated page, “Online Services for Foreign Domestic Helpers” (www.immd.gov.hk/fdh) to complete an online application form.

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Once the application is approved, a notification of approval will pop up, along with a general demand note (GDN) indicating the fee amount along with the payment details.

Payment of the indicated fee may be done through various means, such as the Faster Payment System (PPS), Internet banking, Payment by Phone Service (PPS) or automatic teller machines, or in person at a post office or convenience store. 

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Once Immigration acknowledges receipt of the visa fee, the visa and/or extension of stay label will be mailed to the employer’s correspondence address. The label must then be affixed to the FDH’s passport as instructed. 

In case no correspondence address has been provided, the visa labels will be sent to the address indicated in the employment contract.

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This means that throughout the application process for these types of services, the worker or the employer need not be physically present at an Immigration office to pay the fee or collect the visa label.

At present, those who submit FDH visa applications are required to, upon approval of their applications, pay the fee and collect the visa in person or through an authorised representative from an Immigration Department branch.

Sample of FDH visa indicating validity and other conditions

However, the process will remain unchanged for applications made through other means - by post, drop-in box or in-person - and in special cases requiring in-person submission or interview.

In these cases, the applicant must go personally to an Immigration branch as before to attend an interview, or pick up an approved visa.

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A statement issued by Immigration urged applicants for FDH visas to consider going through the Smart Renewal Service so they can reduce traveling outside their homes, and contribute to the campaign to contain the coronavirus.

The new arrangement was introduced amid mounting concerns among FDHs whose visa extension applications remain stuck in Immigration, even if their permits to remain in Hong Kong had already expired.


Immigration says it will explore the possibility of extending the Smart renewal service to other FDH visa-related applications.

For details of the Smart Renewal service, please visit www.immd.gov.hk/fdh or call the enquiry hotline at 2824 6111, or fax to 2877 7711 or email enquiry@immd.gov.hk.

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