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District Court to hear 2 Pinay's claim vs dead employer’s estate

12 August 2018

Money claims of more than $50k are heard at the District Court in Wanchai

By Vir B. Lumicao

Two Filipinas have failed to find a relative of their deceased employer who could help them claim more than $100,000 in unpaid wages and other money allegedly due them, prompting the transfer of their case to the District Court.

Cleofe Quintella and Amalia Tongga returned to the Labour Tribunal on Aug 7 for a hearing of their claim against the estate of the late Fung Yuk-mei, who took her own life in January.

Presiding Officer Eric Tam told the two domestic helpers that since no executor or administrator of Fung’s assets had come forward, he was transferring their case to the District Court.

Tam told the claimants they would have to find a solicitor who would represent them there in pursuing their claim against the estate of the deceased.

Quintella and Tongga’s claims were first heard at the Tribunal on Apr 6, but no representative came on behalf of the late employer, who was said to be single and childless.

Presiding officer Catherine Cheng told the claimants their case could not be heard until they found out who was Fung’s estate executor or administrator.

The two went to the Probate Registry in Admiralty to find out if anyone had applied for a probate of Fung’s assets, but their search was futile.

Quintella, who had worked for Fung since 1982, is claiming a total of $65,438 for three months of arrears in wages, long service pay, unused statutory holidays, annual leave and air ticket.

Tongga, who is claiming $41,039 for one month’s unpaid wages, long service pay, unused statutory holidays and air ticket, said she began working for Fung in 1985.

The two told the Tribunal the claims were computed by Labour officers who they consulted after Fung was found dead in her bedroom on Jan. 29 with a pan of burnt charcoal beside her.

Tongga said Fung had been living alone when she hired them. Fung’s only relative was a niece, who allegedly told them she knew nothing about her aunt’s assets.

The Filipina told the court that police investigators had collected cash and jewelry they found in Fung’s room, as well as a letter whose contents were not disclosed to them.

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