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2 Filipinas who used fake documents in UK job application jailed for 6.5 months

04 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The Filipinas were sentenced in Shatin magistracy by a District Court judge

Two Filipina domestic workers who had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiring to use forged documents in applying for a British work visa were sentenced today, Aug 4, to six months and two weeks in jail.

Criselda Bantasan, 33, and Cristy Par, 49, who had been out on bail since they were brought to court, were immediately taken into custody.
Their lawyers had appealed for suspended sentences, citing their guilty plea and their having helped investigators to arrest and prosecute the alleged mastermind of the fake documents scam.

District Court Judge Li Chi-ho, who moved the sentencing to Shatin court, acknowledged the evidence that the two Filipinas gave during the trial of the alleged mastermind, a certain Ms Chan, in June.
But he pointed out that Chan was acquitted after the trial judge expressed doubts about their evidence.

Solicitor Teddy Lam, defense counsel for Bantasan, pleaded in the previous hearing for a lenient sentence for his client, citing the maid’s inability to work for the past 18 months while the case was pending in the courts.
Lam said his client was a victim who lost a fortune when she applied for a job in Britain for which the Manila-based syndicate that recruited her had produced the fake documents.

Lawyer Vivian Chan also sought “the most lenient sentence” for Par, so she could continue working for her employers and earn money to support her parents.
Chan said her client’s employers, who had been attending the hearings regularly, were willing to employ her again.

Judge Li cited two similar cases in which the judges had adopted three years as starting point for the sentences. But in the case of Bantasan and Par, the judge started off with a 13-month sentence, then halved it after giving discounts for their guilty plea and mitigation.
After the judge left the courtroom, the two maids were escorted by court security staff  into the dock, where their lawyers spoke with them for a while, before they were led away.

The two had been released on bail since Feb 22, their second appearance in court since their arrest in January 2018.
Bantasan was charged with conspiring with Chan to use forged documents after she submitted on Apr 1, 2016, fake personal papers of her employer to back her application for work visa at the UK Visa Application Centre at Leighton Centre in Causeway Bay.

Par was also alleged to have conspired with Chan and other unknown persons to submit on May 30, 2016, copies of fake papers purportedly belonging to her employer to the UK VAC staff to support her visa application.

The British Consulate General reported the case to the police after discovering that the documents, including their employers’ bank statements and passport copies, that the pair submitted were spurious.

The documents were later found out to have been produced by a syndicate in Manila specializing in faking documents to support job applications for overseas.

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