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Pinay, Indons who testified vs. jobs scam mastermind each jailed 3 months

10 June 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The three were sentenced at Shatin Magistrates Court

One Filipino and two Indonesian maids who helped Immigration officers smash a syndicate that used bogus contracts to get them a work visa, have each been sentenced to three months' imprisonment, half of what they should have gotten if they did not cooperate with investigators.

The three helpers, who all pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud, were Filipina Rose P. Alarcio, 48; and Indonesians Rohaela (one name only), 43, and Dwijayanti Ayun.
Shatin Magistrate Samuel Yip gave all three an identical 50% discounts in their sentences for helping in the investigation of the scam that led to the arrest and conviction of an employment agency director who arranged their fake employment contracts.

The defense counsel asked for a bigger discount than the normal 30% for the three, saying that the mastermind who she did not identify, was convicted recently and is now serving jail time due to the substantial help provided by the maids in busting the scam.

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She said the defendants issued statements identifying the mastermind, providing the agency’s address and testifying during the trial of the culprit.

On May 29, the District Court convicted the mastermind, a 43-year-old Hong Kong resident, of three counts of conspiracy to defraud and five counts of using false instruments, and sentenced him to 43 months in jail.
The scam was discovered when Immigration officers investigating illegal foreign workers found out the agency had been arranging for foreigners to apply for work visas using the bogus employment contracts for domestic workers.

Another 17 Indonesian and Filipino helpers involved in the case were jailed for eight months each in Shatin court earlier for conspiracy to defraud, making false representation to an immigration officer, and breach of condition of stay.

The defense lawyer said Alarcio came to Hong Kong to work as a helper but her contract was terminated prematurely.  

The lawyer said the cases of the three defendants were identical and involved the same agency director who supplied them with fake employment contracts.

In the case of Ayun, the lawyer said the Indonesian used to work as a domestic helper, but lost her job. She went to the agency in search of a new employer, and was provided a bogus work contract that she used to apply for a working visa. After getting the visa, she took up a different job.

She is now on a dependant visa after marrying a local resident.

Immigration has been investigating the jobs scam under its Operation Shadowcatcher which was launched in March 2018.

Since then, 30 people have been arrested including the mastermind, other Hong Kong residents who signed up as employers, as well as Filipinos and Indonesians with FDH work visas but employed in other unspecified jobs.

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