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110 Pinoys in HK jails, down 9% from 2016

22 January 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao
Lo Wu Correctional for women

There were 110 Filipino inmates in Hong Kong jails in the last quarter of 2016, according to statistics provided this month by the Consulate. The figure is 9% lower than the 121 inmates reported by the Consulate for the same period in 2015.

But, Vice Consul Alex Vallespin, head of the assistance to nationals section, cautioned: “We can’t say those figures are accurate because some convicted kababayans might have served out their sentences when we distributed gifts before Christmas.”

Vallespin said the figures were cumulative, as new convicts and remand detainees were added to those who had been behind bars for some years now, such as those convicted of murder and drug trafficking.

The numbers were gathered by Consulate officers and staff led by Consul General Bernie Catalla as they made a round of Hong Kong prisons before Christmas to give presents and Yuletide cheers to the prisoners.

Drugs-related cases comprised the bulk of the quarterly figure, at 45, or 21.6% more than the 37 during the same period in 2015.

Drug offenders detained at Lo Wu Correctional for Women numbered 21, followed by those in Tai Lam Centre for Women at 10.

The second-biggest group of inmates as of end-December, at 24, were those jailed for breach of condition of stay, either for illegal work or staying beyond the expiration of their visas.

This was followed by theft offenders who numbered 18, down 38% from the 29 reported for the same period in 2015.

The inmates were a mix of domestic workers who have mostly violated their visa terms, thieves entering Hong Kong as tourists to pick pockets or steal at jewelry shops, as well as Filipino residents and asylum-seekers caught shoplifting or burgling.

Most of the prisoners, 58 of them, were in Lowu Correctional, where most immigration offenders were detained.

Hong Kong’s maximum security prison in Stanley houses the longest-held Filipino prisoners, both murder convicts.

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