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DH gets suspended sentence for possessing counterfeit goods

27 June 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
No photo description available.
Fake Longchamp bags being sold online

Here’s a warning to foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong: If you are planning to sell fake branded goods for extra income, think twice. You will be in double trouble.

Such is the case of Filipina helper Digna G. Calagui, who was caught by a Hong Kong Customs agent in possession a substantial number of fake branded sport shoes, bags, wallets watches and lipsticks, among other items, on Sept 23 last year in Central.

On Jun 26, Calagui pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to a charge of “breach of condition of stay” for engaging in an activity that violated the condition of her permit to work only in Hong Kong as a domestic helper.

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The defendant also pleaded guilty to a charge of “possession for sale for any purpose of trade or manufacture goods to which a forged trademark was applied”. Possessing such goods is an offense under Section 18 (1) if the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Cap 362, Laws of Hong Kong.

After admitting both offenses, Calagui, 41, was sentenced to a total of seven weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. She was meted a suspended sentence of one week in jail for breach of condition and six weeks for possessing the fake goods.

Calagui was warned that both sentences will be enforced if she commits any offense within a year, but she still looked relieved when the interpreter explained the outcome to her.
The prosecution said the Customs undercover officer saw a big bag lying on the pavement at the Exchange Square bus terminus in Central around 1pm on Sept 23, 2018 and waited until someone came to take it.

When the Filipina arrived and took the bag at 1:15pm, the officer accosted her and asked to check the contents of the bag.

The bag yielded a haul of counterfeit goods, including 19 pairs of shoes bearing the brands Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas; 5 bags labeled Longchamp, Lacoste and Michael Kors; 3 Longchamp wallets, 3 Hello Kitty caps, 1 Hello Kitty mini brush kit, 83 MAC lipsticks, and 6 Casio watches.

Calagui was in a sense lucky as she was let off with a suspended sentence, and for having a supportive employer who has allowed her to continue working in Hong Kong. But Immigration authorities will still have to decide later whether to extend her work visa.
The defense lawyer said in mitigation that the defendant’s husband, a former driver in Hong Kong, had undergone a kidney transplant here but returned home to continue his medication there.
Outside the courtroom, Calagui said she was relieved because she needed to work to earn money for her husband’s treatment. She was also glad that her employer who lives in Aberdeen has been supportive.

She has two children, a son aged 18 who is in first year of a maritime course, and a 17-year-old daughter who is in senior high.
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