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Filipina who jumped bail 3 years ago re-arrested at airport

07 August 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao

No photo description available.
The fake goods found inside the TST flats (Customs & Excise Dept photo)
A 37-year-old Filipina former domestic worker who jumped bail more than three years ago was sentenced to four months in jail on Aug 6, after being re-arrested at the airport when she tried to get in as a tourist recently.

Russell de Castro, 37, pleaded guilty to possessing fake branded goods worth $1.26 million, which she claimed were owned by a man who had hired her as a parttime worker.

She was immediately jailed on orders of Kowloon City Court Magistrate Woo Huey-fang, who rejected the defense lawyer’s request for a lenient sentence, citing her record of absconding.
De Castro was arrested by police on Jul 28, 2015 after she was seen acting suspiciously when she emerged from a lift on the first floor of Hankow Apartments in Tsimshatsui.

When questioned, she introduced herself as an employee of GM Trading with offices on the first floor of the building. Officers searched six units in the building which she identified and found a hoard of fake branded goods inside.

De Castro said she had worked in the shop for only three days, and was paid $300 a day by Shah Habab, a Pakistani who she identified as the owner of GM Trading.
Officers from the Customs and Excise Department and Customs contacted by police inspected the goods and declared all to be counterfeit. The goods were seized and taken to the Tsimshatsui Police Station.

De Castro and Habab were arrested, and the Filipina was questioned further at the North Police station.

Both were subsequently allowed to post bail, and the Filipina took the chance to flee to the Philippines on May 28, 2016. Habab, meanwhile, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
When De Castro returned to Hong Kong as a tourist on Jul 10 this year, she was intercepted at Hong Kong International Airport and hauled to court.

As part of reading out the charges against her, the prosecution recited a long list of branded counterfeit items seized from GM Trading, including 875 pieces of Louis Vuitton handbags, 865 Coach, 240 Chanel, 200 Burberry, 290 Prada; 334 pairs of Nike and 202 pairs of New Balance shoes, 740 Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts, 314 Lacoste T-shirts, 720 pieces of fake Ice Watch timepieces, 620 Prada wallets, 260 Lacoste handbags, 260 Polo Ralph Lauren T-shirts, 930 Louis Vuitton and 630 Coach wallets, Oakley and Gucci sunglasses, and one Rolex watch.
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