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2 Pinay staff of rogue agency arrested as Customs joins probe

12 November 2019

By The SUN

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
Complainants say they were charged between $7k-$12k for the fake jobs
 Two Filipina staff of an unlicensed employment agency allegedly recruiting OFWs for nonexistent jobs in Hong Kong have reportedly been arrested by Customs officers for suspected unfair trade practices.

The Customs and Excise Department announced the arrests of the two women, aged 42 and 54, in a press release on Nov 7 but did not identify them, or the company they were working with.

But some of those who complained against the alleged job scam told The SUN that those arrested were Mary Jane Biscocho and Nympha Lumatac, both domestic workers who used to work for Lennis Ebrahim, owner of the unregistered WHT Consultant Company.

The two were arrested for making false claims to customers that the company they were working for was a licensed employment agency and “the relevant application procedures had been carried out accordingly.”

The 42-year-old woman was said to be still in custody while the other was released on bail pending further investigations.

There has been no word on Ebrahim, who is alleged to be the ringleader.
All three are being investigated separately by the police and the Employment Agency Administration for fraud and illegal recruitment based on the complaints of about 100 jobseekers.

One of the complainants said she and her co-applicants had already been asked by the EAA to identify the WHT suspects in a photo lineup. Another source put the number of those who have already made a statement to EAA at 25.

The complainants accused the three of collecting between $7,000 and $12,000 for jobs as drivers, gardeners and other positions in Hong Kong and Macau since last year.
One of them, Nancy (not her real name), said that in her recent chat with Ebrahim, the latter promised to refund her $6,000 down payment this month.

“Last po na naka-chat ko si Lennis, sabi niya ire-refund niya yung perang nai-down ko sa kanya this mid-November. Hanggang ngayon wala pa rin at di ko na siya makontak. Buti naman po sana mahuli na si Lenis,” Nancy said.

Some of the complainants claimed to have paid more than the indicated fees as they applied for several relatives back in the Philippines.


Nancy said one of her friends was asked by Biscocho and Lumatac to pay a total of $16,000 as down payment for jobs as a waiter for her husband, as helper for her sister, and as factory worker for her brother.

All of the promised jobs never materialized.

Ebrahim used to own Vicks Maid Consultant Co., which was convicted and its license revoked by EAA for overcharging a jobseeker in July 2015.

The complainants reportedly decided to also seek help from Customs as EAA was not acting fast enough on their complaints. On top of this, Customs has arresting power while EAA can only file a case in court.

In its press release, Customs reminded traders to comply with requirements of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) and consumers to procure services only at reputable shops.

Any trader who applies a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer commits an offense punishable with a maximum fine of $500,000 and five years in jail.

Customs urged the public to report any suspected TDO violations to its 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).


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