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Employers of Filipina who died in Shenzhen arrested

19 August 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

Hong Kong police arrested Thursday, Aug 18, the employers of a Filipina domestic helper who fell to her death in Shenzhen in July, as her relatives remain doubtful about reports she killed herself by jumping off a residential block.

A sister of the late Lorain E. Asuncion recently told The SUN that she had asked for a private forensic examination of the victim, as it would be more intensive than the tests carried out by the Shenzhen police which ruled out foul play. A letter the police sent in response to a query from the Philippine Consulate in Guangzhou stated that Asuncion had fallen from a height.  

In Hong Kong, officers from the Anti-Triad and Organized Crime Bureau reportedly arrested the employers of Asuncion when they showed up at the police headquarters in Wanchai for an investigation.

Local newspaper reports said the male employer surnamed Gu, 47, and his wife surnamed Liu, 32, were arrested on a charge of conspiracy to defraud. They were released on bail and told to return in September for further inquiry.

"They were suspected to have made a false statement to the relevant government department, claiming that the female foreign domestic helper employed by them would work in Hong Kong only,” a police spokesman reportedly said.

It is illegal in Hong Kong for an employer to make his or her helper work in places other than at the address stated in their work contract.

The case has highlighted concerns about Hong Kong employees bringing their domestic workers across the border to work, often against their will.

Asuncion, 28 and single, fell from a building in Shenzhen on July 24 after her employers allegedly sent her to work there at a relative’s home.

Her sister, Jenevieve A. Javier said her sister’s body had not yet been autopsied by the time she and an aunt had to fly  back to Manila because the booking list was long.

“Marami kaming katanungan tungkol sa nangyari", she said.

Javier claimed Asuncion's employers had instructed her to join them in Shenzhen on July 22, but when she got there, she was surprised to find only Liu's father in the house. This was confirmed by the Shenzhen police in their letter to the Philippine Consulate there.    

Javier said she had filed a complaint for human trafficking in her sister's case to Hong Kong authorities.

Police reportedly said Asuncion was taken by her employers to China four times in the nine months that she was in their employ.

Immigration reportedly referred the case to police as a human trafficking case.
Javier told The SUN she hoped the investigation into her sister's case would keep going.
"Sana tuluy-tuloy na,” she said.

Javier and her aunt Susan Escorial who viewed Asuncion's remains claimed the victim's face was intact, with no bruises or other signs of having fallen from the 22nd floor flat of Liu's father.

The two said they were interviewed intensively for two days by Hong Kong police about Asuncion’s communications with them before she died.

After the marathon meeting at the police headquarters, an officer drove the two women to the airport to catch their flight home late on Tuesday, Aug 16. - reports from Vir B. Lumicao and SCMP
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