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Court shuts down Filipina’s asylum bid, makes her pay costs

08 February 2022

The case was heard at the High Court in Admiralty

A High Court judge not only ended a Filipina’s appeal to reverse a rejection of her asylum application, but  also prohibited her from filing similar appeals to keep her case alive in the courts.

And to emhasize his ruling to Jamaicha Baguindo Bansiles, Court of First Instance Judge Russell Coleman ordered her to pay the $35,000 cost of the proceedings.

As a non-refoulement claimant, Bansiles is not allowed to work in Hong Kong.  “But the lack of means should not be an absolute shield from the financial consequence of pursuing hopeless cases,” Judge Coleman in his decision published Jan. 31, 2021.


Indeed, in the present context, it is all the more important to bring home the message that habitually and persistently instituting vexation litigations would be met with appropriate costs orders,”  he added.

Judge Coleman was ruling on a case brought by the Immigration Department against Bansiles, invoking Section 27 of the High Court Ordinance, which allows the court to restrict a person's right to be heard in court.

Bansiles arrived in Hong Kong as a domestic helper but was terminated the next year and has since overstayed. When she was arrested on March 15, 2009, she applied for non-refoulement, which prevents her being sent back to the Philippines.


Her reason for seeking such protection: she risks being harmed by two loan sharks in Philippines for failing to repay her debts.

Immigration rejected the claim in 2012, and she started nine years of what was described by the court as “habitually and persistently instituted vexation proceedings.”

She appealed to the Torture Claim Appeal Board (Board) and was rejected in 2013. She sought judicial review and her case was returned to the Immigration Director for fresh determination, but was rejected in 2016.

She went back to the Board, and was rejected in 2017.


She went up to the High Court, and used the next four years going from the Court of First Instance to the Court of Appeal, but instead of asking it to rule on laws that were supposedly violated in rejecting her case, Bansiles raised the same arguments that were rejected previously, with added details.

Judge Coleman also noted arguments that were not relevant to her case, which “suggest that the defendant might have copied and pasted one of the circulating templates from another non-refoulement case.”

“It is apparent that care was only given to ensure that the right forms were filled in and filed with the Registrar to enable the Defendant’s case to advance level by level in the appellant system. This is in stark contrast to the very little thought that had been put into the identification of her grounds of review/appeal,” Judge Coleman said. 

“I also find that, as submitted for the Director, the Defendant instituted those proceedings for the collateral purpose of delaying her removal from Hong Kong,” he added.
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