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Filipina jailed 20 weeks for overstaying for 5 years

16 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Gabato was ordered jailed for 20 weeks at West Kowloon Court

A 43-year-old Filipina former domestic helper was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail today, Jul 16, in West Kowloon Court after she pleaded guilty to overstaying her visa for more than five years.

Bella Gabato, who was charged with breach of condition of stay, was sentenced by Magistrate Winnie Lau, who said the offense called for immediate imprisonment.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Prosecution said Gabato came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper and was supposed to leave sometime in 2014 after her contract was terminated prematurely by her employer. But instead of going home, she remained here illegally.

Gabato was arrested in Shamshuipo last month during a street check by police. She reportedly tried to run away but the officers caught up with her.

Pindutin para sa detalye

During a body search, the officers found a plastic packet tucked under her bra, but a laboratory examination found no trace of dangerous drugs.
 
The defense counsel appealed for a lenient sentence, saying that the defendant, a mother of two girls aged 20 and 15, was the sole breadwinner in the family. She is separated from her husband.
Aside from supporting her two daughters, she has provided for the needs of her 86-year-old mother in the Philippines.

Magistrate Lau said that after considering the facts of the case, including Gabato’s long period of illegal stay, as well as her guilty plea, an immediate custodial sentence was unavoidable.

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