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Ex-helper gets 12 months for overstaying

18 February 2017

A former domestic helper who had overstayed her visa in Hong Kong for one year and seven months was sentenced to 12 months in jail by a magistrate in Shatin on Feb 10.

Ildefonsa Guzman, 49, pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching her condition of stay for not leaving Hong Kong when her visa expired on May 31, 2015.

Guzman came to Hong Kong in August 2013 to work as a domestic helper. When her contract ended, she was unable to find an employer within her 14-day visa extension and decided to remain and work illegally in the city. The prosecution said the Filipina was forced to give herself up during an anti-illegal immigrant operation in the New Territories, where she was staying on Feb 8.

Magistrate Joseph Toh said he could not give Guzman a further discount after the one-third discount for her pleading guilty because she did not surrender voluntarily.

The duty lawyer assigned to Guzman’s case pleaded for leniency, saying the woman wanted to stay on in Hong Kong for follow-up medical treatment after undergoing surgery in Tuen Mun Hospital.
Toh said Guzman’s offense called for an 18-month sentence, but because of her guilty plea he was sentencing her to 12 months.
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