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3 Pinoys in US$5B bank draft case denied bail

21 July 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao
The 3 Pinoys were denied bail in Eastern Court 

Three Filipino male tourists who are accused of presenting a fake US$5 billion bank draft to HSBC failed in their attempt to secure bail at Eastern Court on Jul 19.

In two separate cases, a male tourist who allegedly attempted to encash fake traveler’s checks worth US$50,000 in February and a fellow Filipino who tried to verify an HSBC deposit slip for US$943 billion in April appeared in District Court on Jul 17. 

In the first case, Elmer P. Soliman, 57, his son Eric Jude P. Soliman, 31, and Eliseo L. Martinez returned to the court with bail money and addresses to stay in Hong Kong in case they gain temporary release, as well as a promise not to leave the city and report to police daily.

But that did not convince Magistrate Peter Law to grant their bail applications.

The three defendants, who are facing a charge of “using a false instrument”, were ordered back in jail.

HSBC staff called police after seeing
the fake US$5billion bank draf
Soliman and his son, who claimed to be a secretary and engineer, respectively, submitted an address on Jordan Road near the Tsimshatsui Police Station. They also offered bail money of $15,000 each and their Hong Kong Chinese friend who was in court was ready to put up a surety of $3,000 each, their lawyer told Law.

Third defendant Martinez, a lawyer, offered bail of $15,000 in addition to an offer of $15,000 surety from his friend “Mr Pieter”,  a Hong Kong resident. His lawyer also offered a new address, also in Saikung, where Martinez would reside.

Despite the offers, however, Law remained firm in refusing the bail applications of all three.

The magistrate told the defendants that their offense was serious, so he could not grant their applications. But he said they could apply for bail at the High Court.

Law told Martinez he had considered his case separately, but rejected his bail application.   

Martinez, wearing a red round-neck shirt, smiled to his wife and daughter as he emerged in the dock along with the Solimans. The daughter wiped off her tears as she beheld her father, a 46-year-old municipal lawyer in Tarlac province.

For the Solimans, a son and grandson of Elmer came with two local Chinese friends and a Filipina companion.
Magistrate Law said the case could now go to a pre-trial review on Aug. 9.

The three defendants were arrested on Jun 25 at the HSBC main office in Central after they tried to open an account using the fake bank draft worth US$ 5 billion. Two other unidentified persons who were with them were initially arrested but were later released by the police.

The prosecution said the elder Soliman approached a female staff to open an account. He then presented the bank draft that was handed to him by Martinez. The staff called the police when they noticed that the bank instrument was spurious.

A raid on their hotel room in Tsimshatsui followed, and police seized a suitcase with contained documents. Investigations are continuing.

In the District Court, Filipino tourists Noel Rambuyon and Brudencio Bolaños appeared for the first hearing of their individual cases of “using a false instrument” since their transfer from Eastern Court in Sai Wan Ho.

No plea was taken from either of the defendants. Their lawyer from Legal Aid  applied for a six-week adjournment to study the cases.

Judge Gary Lam adjourned the cases until Sept 4 and ordered Rambuyon and Bolaños back in jail. 

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