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Pinay DH jailed 24 weeks for working without visa for 6 years

26 November 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

Magistrate says losing her passport was no excuse for the Filipina not to renew her contract and visa

A 46-year-old Filipina helper has been sentenced to 24 weeks in jail by a Shatin magistrate for continuing to serve her employer for more than six years despite failing to extend her work visa because she had lost her passport.

Connie Lauron, married with two sons, pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of condition of stay when she appeared before Magistrate Ko Wai-hung in Shatin Court today, Nov 26.

The first charge against Lauron was for overstaying her visa. She came to Hong Kong on a domestic worker visa in October 2009 and remained despite her valid period of stay having ended on Oct 4, 2013.

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The second charge involved her working illegally for more than six years until she was detained on Oct 27 for breaching her conditions of stay.

The defense counsel assigned by the Duty Lawyer Service said in mitigation that the case was unusual because she worked for the same employer during the years of her overstay.

He said that unlike other cases of overstaying, Lauron did not seek an extension of her work visa because she lost her passport before completing her second contract and did not know what to do about it. He said Lauron did not approach the Philippine Consulate for help.
The employer, on the other hand, was described as “naïve about the legalities.”

When Magistrate Ko asked why the employer was not charged for keeping the Filipina despite knowing that her work visa had expired, the prosecutor said an investigation was still ongoing.

The defense lawyer begged for leniency in sentencing Lauron, saying she would not have been in trouble had she not lost her passport, but the magistrate said he would not accept that as a mitigation.

The magistrate sentenced Lauron to 24 weeks for her first offense and six weeks for her second offense, both sentences to be served concurrently.
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