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Filipina gets suspended sentence for twisting toddler’s legs

10 August 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Kwun Tong magistrate said he was giving
the defendant a 'second chance'

A Filipina domestic helper was sentenced to two months in jail, suspended for a year, after she pleaded guilty to twisting the legs of her two-year-old ward when she appeared in Kwun Tong court on Aug 8.

Almira Wangag, 34, was originally charged with two counts of ill-treating the child but the prosecutor told Magistrate Tobias Cheng that after seeking legal advice, she was amending the charge to just one count of common assault.

The prosecution said the offense happened in a flat in Villa Royale in Nam Pin Wai, Saikung, New Territories on Jun 11 at exactly 11:33 am.

CCTV footage showed Wangag twisting her ward’s legs while changing her diaper because the toddler was acting up. The maid’s action caused redness on both legs of the child.
When the employer noticed the red marks, she reviewed the CCTV footage and saw what the maid did to her daughter.

The mother took her child to Tseung Kwan O Hospital where an examination showed the injury was minor.

Even so, the employer reported the matter to the police and Wangag was arrested on the same day.  On Jun 21, she was granted police bail.
During investigation, the maid said she did not intentionally hurt the child but was just trying to control her while changing her nappy.

She said at that time she was out of her mind because she just got a call from home that her daughter, 10, was running a high fever and her husband did not know what to do.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said Wangag, who is married and has two young daughters, came to Hong Kong in April 2017 to work for her employer, and has just renewed her contract in April. But her employer terminated her after the incident.
The lawyer noted that the injury sustained by the child was minor. But because of it, Wangag would not be able to find an employer in Hong Kong again.

He said the maid was remorseful and admitted her guilt during the initial investigation.

Magistrate Cheng told the defendant her offense was a serious breach of trust because she was hired to take care of the baby, who was born in mid-2017 and grew up under her care. He said the employer even renewed her contract because she trusted her.

“I am going to give you a one and only chance,” Cheng said.
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