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Ex-DH jailed for different birthdays on passports

19 December 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

Magistrate ordered the defendant jailed after she decided to use her real birth year in her new passport

A Filipina former domestic helper has been jailed for 12 weeks after admitting that she had used passports with different dates of birth to enter Hong Kong.

E. Gaddi, 63, an industrial engineer who came here to work as a maid in 2011,  pleaded guilty before Shatin Magistrate Wong Tsz-ho on Dec 17 to three counts of making a false statement to Immigration officers.

The prosecution charged that on Dec 19, 2011, Gaddi presented to an Immigration officer a passport issued in 2008 that stated her date of birth as Apr 13, 1957. The defense lawyer said Gaddi’s real birthday is Apr 13, 1956.  
In the second charge, the prosecution said the Filipina presented on May 23, 2013 a new passport still giving her birthday as Apr 13, 1957 to apply for a visa extension.

On a recent visit to Hong Kong on Jul 15, 2019, Gaddi presented to an Immigration assistant another passport that again showed her birthday as Apr 13, 1957.

Gaddi was stopped on Nov 15 at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal when she presented a passport with an Apr 13, 1956 birthday, as did not match her Immigration records.
A check of her HK and Macau IDs showed Apr 13, 1957 as her birthday, the prosecution said.

The defence lawyer said Gaddi had used Apr 13, 1956 when she applied for a passport in 2008, but when she got the document, she noticed that the birth year was wrongly stated as 1957. Despite this, she used the passport to apply for a work visa to Hong Kong on Dec 19, 2011.

When she applied for a replacement of the 2008 passport on Jun 24, 2013 so she could process a new contract, Gaddi reportedly asked the Consulate to amend the wrong data but was told they could not do that here, the prosecution said.

During mitigation, the defense lawyer said Gaddi used to have a good job as an industrial engineer, but she got sick of ovarian cancer and quit after her second surgery.
She studied the food supplements business before she came to Hong Kong in 2011.

She returned to Manila in November 2014 but still made trips to Hong Kong to visit a niece who is a resident working here.

The defense lawyer said Gaddi later went to Macau in 2017-2019 to work as a helper to support her sick father and to start her food supplement business there. She got the job through an agency.

The lawyer said Gaddi later sought the agency’s services to apply for a new passport using her real birth year. An Immigration officer noticed the discrepancy when she used the passport to come to HK on Nov 15.

The defense counsel asked for leniency, saying that Gaddi did not intentionally change her birthday data for criminal intentions and she pleaded guilty to show remorse.

Magistrate Wong gave her eight weeks in jail for each charge, with the sentences for the second and third charges taking effect after the second and fourth week.  

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