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HK Police ‘elevates’ case vs Ester Ylagan

03 April 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

Ester P. Ylagan
The investigation into fraud and money laundering allegations against former employment agency owner  Ester P. Ylagan is now with Hong Kong Police's Regional Crime Unit.

This was revealed by police investigators at the Central Harbourfront station who conducted two full-day interviews on Mar. 11 and 18 with about  40 Filipina domestic workers who had complained against Ylagan.

"We have elevated the case to the Regional Crime Unit," said an investigator, indicating some progress in the two-year-old case.

The statement was confirmed by Edwina Antonio, case officer of the Mission for Migrant Workers, which is helping the OFWs pursue their claim against Ylagan.

"The police have temporarily stopped taking statements. They will inform us when they plan to resume this. The statement taking will then be transferred to the Admiralty police station," said Antonio.

About 100 OFWs first sought police help in July 2016 after Ylagan disappeared with some $2 million in fees she allegedly collected from them for non-existent jobs in Canada and Britain.

However, no action was taken in their case then because Ylagan beat them to the police with her own complaint about having been duped into transferring some $8 million to an unknown business partner in Burkina Faso.

Ylagan said in her complaint that a bigger part of the money had come from her own funds.

However, documents recently submitted to the police by a concerned group of investigators appeared to indicate Ylagan was probably involved in a serious case of money laundering.

The money trail apparently showed Ylagan had transferred millions of dollars through numerous remittances to countries as far apart as Nigeria. Turkey and Malaysia.

She was reportedly helped in transferring the money by close family members and her former staff at Emry's Service Staff Employment Agency.

The allegations are backed up by remittance slips shown to The SUN by the team of investigators led by lawyers.

However, where the money came from - apart from the fees paid by the job applicants - and where it went remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, investigators in Manila have also closed in on Ylagan, who also faces charges from family members of the OFW complainants for whom money was paid for the bogus jobs.

Investigators from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) have filed charges of syndicated illegal recruitment against her, a non-bailable offense for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

Ylagan returned to Hong Kong in December last year after an absence of more than a year to file a case for deception against suspended barrister, Ody Lai, who she claimed had fraudulently acquired her Aberdeen flat worth $6.5 million at current rates.

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