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60 Filipinos who paid P3m for fake jobs in HK appeal for help

13 September 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap


Who is Marilyn Pascua Gregory, the HK recipient of the alleged illegal fees charged FDH applicants?

Amid the pandemic, three Filipinas appear to have found a way to feed on the desperation of their compatriots to leave and find better-paying jobs abroad.

The women reportedly offered non-existent jobs in Hong Kong, for which around 60 Filipinos living all over the country responded, paying anywhere between Php35,000 and Php80,000 upfront, only to realize later on that they had been duped.

In their desperation, the victims have sought help from everywhere, from the National Bureau of Investigation to media crusader Raffy Tulfo, but have yet to get relief. They are now asking the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong to look into their case.

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One of those who paid the most was Ching Tio, a resident of Cagayan de Oro City, who has proof that her husband had remitted the equivalent of Php80,850 through Western Union to a certain Marilyn Pascua Gregory in Hong Kong on the group’s instruction.

Seven months on, the couple still has no clue as to who Gregory is, and why she was allowed to collect much of about Php3 million in total that the applicants had paid for the fictitious jobs. They do have an address for her, though, and it’s in Hibiscus Park in Kwai Chung.

Tio said she and her husband had agreed to pay the “couple fee” of Php80,000 on Feb 20 this year after they were promised jobs as a domestic helper and gardener, respectively.


Hiningan kami ng placement fee. Php45,000 sa asawa ko at Php35,000 sa akin at Php50,000 sa bawat isa sa iba ko pang kasamahan,” Tio said. (We were asked to pay placement fee. Php45k for my husband, Php35k for myself and Php50k each from my other co-applicants).

She said she first heard of the supposedly urgent job offers in Hong Kong from a Facebook post early this year of a certain Azu Gonzales (whose real name, according to her, is Jennifer “Ping” Rocacurva), who claims to  work in Singapore.

Rocacurva later introduced two of her partners in the recruitment venture, a Rubie Ariz Bote, who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong and lives in Sai Wan Ho; and a Pearl Christine Joy Smith who claims to be a former seafarer who now lives in the United Kingdom.

Photos taken off Bote's and Rocacurva's FB accounts

Tio said she was not immediately convinced of the job offers, and asked questions like why they did not have an agency and why they were being rushed to pay for the hefty placement fees.

The three reportedly took turns explaining that as they were direct or VIP hires, no agency in the Philippines was needed. They did give a name of their supposed counterpart agency in Mong Kok, but none of the applicants managed to get to the stage where they had to verify the authenticity of that claim.


Tio was crushed to learn later that everyone who is hired from the Philippines must go through a recruitment agency. The only ones who are allowed to bypass this rule are those who are already in Hong Kong, and are allowed by Immigration authorities here to stay and process a new employment contract.

Nor did she know that the charging of placement fees even by accredited agencies has long been outlawed in the Philippines. Now, even training fees and other charges that would-be migrant workers are charged by recruiters are under scrutiny.

Two other couple-applicants claim to have been recruited by the same group.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Jenny Bato, who is from Sultan Kudarat, sent Php70,850 (HK$10,905) also to Gregory, who none of the applicants has ever met or chatted with. A number supplied by the recruiters for Gregory used to only ring all the time, but is now "not in use," according to a recorded response.

Another, Eunice Romano from Pangasinan, said she and her husband were made to pay Php35,000 each. The same amount was demanded from about a dozen of their co-applicants.

But in the latter case, the gang of three reportedly told them to send the bulk of the money through bank transfer to Bote’s daughter, Kimberly; and some to Rocacurva’s daughter, Honey Mae. They have bank deposit slips attesting to this.

Bank deposit slip for the P50k sent to the daughter of Bote, said to be a FDH in HK

After they paid up, Romano said no one among the recruiters bothered to update them on any new development on their application, citing the pandemic and the ensuing flight ban imposed by Hong Kong on the Philippines as reasons.

Hanggang sa naghintay kami mahigit pitong buwan na ngayon, (pero) wala pa ring nangyari sa papers at documents namin, walang development at wala ring update. Kung meron man, iyon ay lagi daw nae-extend dahil sa pandemya,” she said in her statement. (We have waited for more than seven months already, but nothing has happened to our documents, no development or update. If they do update us, it is just to say that our deployment has been extended because of the pandemic).

Nearly all of the complainants have told the women that they want to back out of their application, but have yet to get a response. A few were told to wait.

Some of the early applicants have reportedly managed to get back a portion of what they paid the women. When asked about the discrepancy, the three reportedly said the unpaid portion went to the initial processing of their documents.

But most of those demanding to be repaid were either kicked out of chat groups by the recruiters, or have been heaped with insults by the three. The Facebook accounts of the three have been locked as well, and can no longer be searched online.

In the meantime, many of the applicants have been spending sleepless nights worrying about the money that they lost to the women who they now believe have scammed them.

One said she and her husband had mortgaged their house to raise the money for what they had foolishly believed was the fastest way for them to work in Hong Kong. Another said she had been summoned to their barangay twice already because she cannot repay the person she had borrowed money from.

Pearl Smith is said to have worked as a seafarer 

On hindsight, Tio admits there were many things they could have done to verify the job offers before they allowed themselves to be persuaded into sending huge sums to people they barely knew.

When she started having doubts about the three, she said she took time to check out the training center in Manila where the applicants were supposed to go before being deployed to Hong Kong. She found out it had closed down due to the pandemic.

She then contacted another training center in Cebu, Light and Hope, where the recruiters said those in Visayas and Mindanao would be sent instead. Staff there told her that they didn’t know any of the three women.

After that, staff at the center posted screen shots of the Facebook profiles of the three women, warning the public that they do not work there, and called them “scammers.”

Unfortunately, it was too late by then, because after she and her husband had sent the money, Tio said the recruiters had become difficult to get hold of.

The applicants are now asking for whoever could help them seek redress so they could recover their money. They also want an alarm sounded out so no more Filipinos, no matter how desperate, are lured into the same web of deceit.

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