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OFW in mailed drugs case freed

21 October 2016

Tsuen Wan Magistracy where the case was heard
by Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic helper jailed four months ago for accepting a gift containing cocaine from her Nigerian boyfriend was freed Oct. 20 after prosecutors dropped a drug trafficking case against her.
Eleanor Amorin, a 31-year-old single mother, burst into tears when Tsuen Wan Magistrate Cheang Kei-hong told her to go after the lady prosecutor said she was dropping the charge without giving any reason 
As of Thursday evening, Amorin had yet to contact the Consulate.
Hermogenes Cayabyab of the assistance to nationals section said Hong Kong Immigration would normally send home foreign domestic workers who had been involved in criminal offenses even if they got cleared.
“At this stage we’re not sure if she would be allowed to remain in Hong Kong to look for a new employer, or be sent home by immigration authorities," said Cayabyab.
The Filipina was arrested in her employers’ home shortly after taking delivery of a package containing cocaine that was sent to her as a present via air mail by her newfound Nigerian boyfriend 
Her release bodes well for another Filipina helper, Welva Gannaban, who was arrested on Sept. 26 in a similar fashion. She was picked up after Customs officers intercepted an air parcel containing suspected cocaine that her Nigerian boyfriend had sent from Addis Ababa. 
Gannaban herself was originally scheduled to appear in Tsuen Wan court on Oct 20, but for unknown reasons, her case was not heard that day.
The arrests prompted the Consulate and the Mission for Migrants Workers to warn Filipinas in Hong Kong to be wary of accepting mailed packages from online boyfriends, particularly those based in West Africa.
The modus involves African men, particularly Nigerians, befriending and courting foreign domestic helpers through social media and then asking for their employers’ addresses so they could send gifts to the women. 
Vice Consul Alex Vallespin said Filipinas should avoid getting involved with strangers they meet online because they could be used to smuggle dangerous drugs into Hong Kong. 
The warning was echoed by the Mission"/ Cynthia Tellez,, who said the workers should be wary of crime syndicates that exploit their weaknesses in many ways.
Sinasamantala nila ang mga kahinaan ng ating mga migrants para magamit nila,” she said. 
In Amorin’s case, she was a single mother actively searching for a foreign boyfriend online to emulate her sister who had successfully married a foreigner
Amorin fell for a Nigerian she met online and shortly after their initial meeting in Wanchai, the man sent her the package, not from Nigeria, but from Brazil 
Officers posing as postmen pounced on her after she eagerly signed a receipt for the parcel.
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