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Debt-troubled Pinay helper plunges to death in Kowloon

25 July 2019

The building where the victim lived.

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker has apparently taken her own life due to stress over financial problems, according to police and Consulate sources.

The victim (name withheld), 40 and single, plunged to her death on Monday afternoon, Jul 22 from her employer's flat at Manhattan Hill residential tower in Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon, according to her friends.

The police and the Consulate both confirmed the report. 

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A police spokesman said they received a report around 5pm on Monday that a woman’s body was found on the podium.

Officers who responded certified the victim was already dead when they arrived. They said there was no suspicious element and her death was related to monetary problems and debt. They classified the case as “falling from height.”

Welfare Officer Virsie Tamayao of the Overseas Workers Welfare Office told The SUN that based on the Consulate’s report, the victim was apparently troubled by debt.

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Danny Baldon, officer of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, said relatives of the victim have been contacted.

On Wednesday, the helper’s employer, accompanied by her employment agent, went to ATN to work on the repatriation of the remains of the deceased, Tamayao said. The body is now at Kwai Chung Public Mortuary.

Tamayao said the worker’s immediate relatives will receive a PhP120,000 death benefit from OWWA, and proceeds from the mandatory insurance for first-time OFWs that she took out in the Philippines.

The deceased .arrived in Hong Kong in December 2017 on her first domestic helper contract.

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Tamayao said no date has yet been set for shipping the victim’s body to her hometown of Candelaria, Quezon, as clearance from the Coroner’s Court is being awaited.         
News of the tragedy was first reported in the Facebook page of Bicol Migrants Association as the deceased's father was reportedly from Virac, Catanduanes,.

BMA chairman Art Buban said he was puzzled because a photo of the victim lining up at the check-in counter at the airport was posted by one of her friends. But instead of taking her flight to Manila the victim apparently went back to her employer's flat, along with her luggage.

The next thing they knew, she was already dead. 

BMA member Bhebs Leonardo said in a group chat that the victim had sent her a message, threatening to jump off a window because a lending company had been bugging her about her debt.

Outgoing Labor Attaché  Jalilo dela Torre said in reaction to the tragedy: “There's not much we can do because those are extremely personal decisions. But if you know of any friend or relative suffering from depression, you may reach out to the Good Samaritan," in reference to a Hong Kong NGO that provides telephone advise to depressed people.

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