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High Court rejects deported transgender’s appeal against sentence

13 January 2021

By The SUN

The appeal court said the sentence on Arabejo was within the prescribed range

A Filipino transgender tourist who was jailed for two months last year for overstaying his visa for six months, has lost his appeal against his sentence in the High Court.

The appellant, Manuel Arabejo II, was unrepresented and absent, as he was repatriated to the Philippines on Oct 13 after his discharge from prison, the court said.

Arabejo, 28 and a college student, had appealed against the sentence meted by an Eastern Court magistrate after he pleaded guilty to the charge of breach of condition of stay. He served the sentence and was released on Oct 12.

Pindutin para sa detalye

In her decision issued on Dec 29 but published on Jan 12, Justice Esther Toh concurred with prosecutor Dmitri Au-yeung that Arabejo’s “is a clear case that the sentence is not manifestly excessive.”

“The fact is very simple. A police officer posed as a sex customer and made a phone call at a number found in an online advertisement. He was instructed to go to a hotel in Causeway Bay. Upon arrival, the door was opened by the appellant, (who) then informed the police officer that $2,000 was required for full sex service,” said Justice Toh.

The officer revealed his police identity just when Arabejo wanted to undress. He arrested the Filipino and seized 10 unused condoms and a bottle of KY Gel from the room.

The appellant arrived in Hong Kong in March last year as a visitor and was only permitted to stay until Sept 7, 2020.

“The appellant had actually contravened his condition of stay and under caution the appellant also admitted the offence,” the appeal judge said.

 Toh said whatever financial need drove Arabejo to do what he did, he contravened a law in Hong Kong and the sentence imposed on him was well within the range of sentences for this type of offence.

 "So, I cannot see that the sentence was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle,” said Toh.

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