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Police say protests have delayed investigation of Emry's jobs scam

21 January 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Ylagan has told investigators she sent the applicant's money to a man she met only online

Hong Kong’s seven-month-old protests have reportedly slowed down police investigation of Ester P. Ylagan, former owner of two employment agencies which have been shut down, for suspected fraud and money-laundering.

This was gathered on Jan 20 from an official of the Consulate, who said he had spoken last week to the leader of an investigating team from the Regional Crime Bureau.
Consul Paulo Saret, head of the PCG’s assistance to nationals section, said police are looking at the possibility that part of the proceeds from the jobs scam allegedly carried out by Ylagan/Mike’s were siphoned off to other countries, in particular the Philippines.

Ylagan, 67, was estimated to have collected about $5 million in placement fees in early 2016 from some 500 applicants for promised jobs in Britain and Canada that turned out to be inexistent. More than 200 have tried to recover their money, to no avail.

Emry’s Employment and Staff Services and Mike’s Secretarial Services, both owned and controlled by Ylagan, were padlocked by police in April 2016 when alleged victims of the jobs scam filed complaints against her.

Ylagan went into hiding in the Philippines but was arrested on June 7, 2018, six months after she returned to Hong Kong in December 2017, on suspicion of fraud conspiracy and money laundering.

Multiple charges of overcharging job applicants were filed by the Employment Agency Administration against Ylagan, but these were dropped in July 2018. The prosecutor said the Justice Department had decided the labour case might interfere with the ongoing police investigation of the criminal cases against Ylagan.

Saret said the head of the team investigating the money-laundering case had told him his team was coordinating with the Interpol in tracking down the funds, which had reportedly been remitted to several countries including Malaysia and Burkina Faso in Africa.

Saret said he had asked the officer why the Emry’s case, which began four years ago, was still not filed with the Justice Department, just like the two-year-old PEYA Travel case.

“They (investigating team) said much as they would like to finish everything, their focus has been affected by the political situation,” said Saret.

Since June last year, police have been trying to put down pro-democracy protests that frittered before Christmas but rekindled in recent weeks. 
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