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Pinay in death fall a former helper

30 May 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

Arrangements are being made by the Consulate for the repatriation of the remains of a former domestic helper who fell to her death while apparently cleaning a window on the seventh floor of a building Mong Kok on May 17.

Police have ruled out foul play in the death of the 30-year-old victim, Irene dela Rosa, who was reportedly on recognizance after filing a torture claim.

The assistance to nationals section is reportedly helping a relative of the victim in preparing the documents needed to send the remains home

An ATN officer said he was in touch with Dela Rosa’s relatives in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs and an airline company regarding Dela Rosa’s repatriation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the ATN officer escorted the woman’s relative to the Kwai Chung Public Mortuary where Dela Rosa’s remains were kept.

The deceased was a former domestic worker whose last contract was filed with the Consulate in 2014, the ATN officer said.

“She could have lost her job after that and overstayed, then she was able to obtain recognizance,” he said.

Hong Kong Immigration grants recognizance to persons who overstay their visas and file torture claims. It is an alternative to detention.

Initial police investigation showed the victim was cleaning the window of a flat she shared with her Pakistani partner when the incident happened, a duty officer at the Police Public Relations Bureau told The SUN during a phone inquiry.

“At 10:27 pm on May 17, (police) found a Filipino female lying unconscious on the podium of a residential building on 179 Tung Choi St in Mong Kok,” the officer said.

Local media reports said the woman was found lying unconscious on the canopy on the second floor of the building.

The spokeswoman said firemen took the victim to Kwong Wah Hospital but she was certified dead on arrival.

Dela Rosa’s grieving Pakistani live-in partner went to the Consulate the day following the accident to report the death and seek assistance. Local reports said the man was distraught and emotional as he accompanied paramedics when they took the victim to the hospital.

An online article posted in the South China Morning Post website cited records showing that at least 11 people had either died or suffered injury from accidental falls since 2015 while cleaning windows or doing renovation work on Hong Kong’s high-rise buildings.

At least four incidents involved domestic helpers, the latest of which killed 35-year-old Rinalyn Dulluog from Isabela who fell from a Lohas Park high-rise on Aug 9.

Her death prompted Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre to exclude window cleaning from a list of duties in a domestic worker’s job contract.

Despite opposition from some employers, Hong Kong’s Labour Department took the same stance. Starting Jan. 13 this year, the standard employment contracts of FDHs included provisions banning the cleaning of windows not fitted with grilles, and stipulated that no part of the helper’s body except their arms could extend beyond the window ledge.

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