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Filipina overstayer ends 11-year bid vs. deportation

18 September 2019


By The SUN
The torture claimant told the Court she decided to just go home and raise her daughter there

A Filipina former helper who overstayed in Hong Kong for nearly five years and tried to fight deportation for the next 11 years, has been allowed to withdraw her application in the High Court seeking leave for a judicial review of her case.

Meanwhile, two other Filipino overstayers who are challenging Hong Kong’s decision to deport them after rejecting their torture claims, failed to get the court’s nod for a judicial review.

In a decision handed down on Sept 12, Mr Justice Li of the Court of First Instance granted Marina Palangdosan’s request to drop her case so she can leave Hong Kong and take care of her daughter, who was born here in November 2006.
Palangdosan, 45, came here as a helper in November 1988 and was allowed to stay until Apr 23, 2004. But she did not leave and eventually gave birth to her daughter. They were both arrested for overstaying on Sept 26, 2008.

She filed a torture claim on Sept 14, 2009 but was refused by the Immigration director after nearly two years. She went to the Torture Claims Appeal Board but was turned down on Aug 17, 2011. A removal order was issued against her three weeks later.
She filed another non-refoulement claim (against being sent home) in October 2013 but it was rejected by the director on Feb 16, 2017. Her appeal was dismissed by TCAB on Dec 27, 2017, leading her to seek leave for a judicial review in 2018.

Justice Li said Palangdosan wrote to the director in February 2018 seeking leave to remain in Hong Kong to look after her child, but her application was refused on Aug 9 and Dec 9, 2018.

“The director pointed out that she was an overstayer and had no right to remain in Hong Kong. There was no strong humanitarian or compassionate ground or exceptional extenuating circumstances to justify rescission of the removal order,” Li said.
In turn, Palangdosan applied for leave for judicial review of the director’s decision in October last year and indicated that she would apply for legal aid.

But Justice Li said that when the court wrote to Palangdosan in May about the result of her legal aid application, she replied that she would like to withdraw her leave application.

Two other Filipinos, Christopher Espiritu and Eva Tomad, applied separately last year for leave to challenge Immigration’s and the TCAB’s decisions rejecting their non-refoulement claims.
Judge K.W. Lung, however, refused their applications on Sept 11, saying these have no reasonable prospect of success.

Espiritu came to Hong Kong in Jul 27, 2008 and was allowed to stay as visitor until Aug 3 that year. He overstayed and was arrested on Oct 27, 2009. He applied for non‑refoulement on Oct 30.

Tomad came to Hong Kong Aug 12, 2009 as a visitor and overstayed until she was arrested by police on Feb 22, 2010. She lodged her non-refoulement claim on Jul 18, 2013.

Espiritu said he feared for his life if he was sent back home because he had witnessed a murder committed by a robber named Sapida and he had reported the matter to the police.

Tomad, on the other hand, claimed she feared being subject to extra-judicial killing.

Both said the Director failed to give enough weight to their claims and was either unfair or unreasonable in not allowing their applications.

Judge Lung, however, said he was not convinced that their claims had any reasonable prospect of success, and dismissed their applications.

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