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Ylagan’s absence stalls magistracy hearing of jobs scam case

21 January 2017

Ylagan giving her side to The SUN
in June last year
The first hearing on Jan. 20 of the labour cases involving the alleged recruitment of hundreds of Filipinas for non-existent jobs in Britain and Canada had to be called off after the accused, employment agency owner Ester P. Ylagan, failed to appear in court.
Ylagan faces 21 cases of  “receiving payment other than the prescribed commission” for allegedly charging applicants $10,000 to $15,000 for purported jobs in the two countries between January and July last year.
The cases were filed by the Employment Agency Administration after interviewing dozens of Filipino migrant workers who brought their complaints against Ylagan to the Consulate, which in turn endorsed them to the HK Labour Department.
Two Labour prosecutors were present in Eastern court for the hearing, listed down as “for mention” of the cases against Ylagan.
The 21 claimants were just a tiny fraction of the more than 500  people who are believed to have given their trust and money to Ylagan, who for years, had run Emry’s Employment Agency, the biggest recruiter of Filipino domestic workers into Hong Kong.
When she recruited for the fake jobs, however, Ylagan used Mike’s Secretarial Services, a company listed solely in her name.
More than 100 of the claimants have sought help from the Small Claims Tribunal for a refund of their money, and most of the cases are still pending.
Ylagan has not attended a single hearing of the cases, and a representative has repeatedly told the court that the defendant was in the Philippines for medical consultations.
The officer in charge of the cases has given an ultimatum for Ylagan to appear at the next hearing, or risk losing the right to repudiate the claims.
At Eastern court, Ylagan was again nowhere in sight when the court clerk called out the names of the parties in cases due for hearing before Magistrate Arthur Lam.
Her case was reserved for last, but the Labour prosecutors decided to leave before the penultimate case could be heard after seeing no signs of the defendant.
When the clerk of court called out the number of the first case against Ylagan, she was surprised to find that nobody was in the gallery, not even the prosecutors.
The magistrate stood up and walked back into his chamber.
“The defendant didn’t come,” the clerk of court said when asked what happened.
When asked what the court would do with the case, she simply said: “Adjournment.”
The SUN tried to contact EAA investigation officer Pang Wah-sang to inquire about what the Labour Department would do after Ylagan’s failure to show up, but got no immediate reply. – Vir B. Lumicao

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