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High Court explains why 73-year-old Filipino was not allowed to remain in HK

14 March 2023

The ruling came five months after the Filipino was deported

A High Court judge who refused to allow a 73-year-old Filipino to remain in Hong Kong despite his appeal against being sent home, has explained his decision - almost five months after the appellant had been deported.

Deputy High Court Judge Anthony To rejected the application for leave filed on Aug. 17, 2022 by Brudencio Bolanos to allow him to appeal an earlier High Court ruling that upheld the rejection by the Torture Claims Appeal Board / Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office of his request not to be forcibly sent home because he might be harmed in the Philippines.

In his ruling, Judge To said that when an application for leave to apply for judicial review is refused by a judge, the applicant may appeal the order to the Court of Appeal within the next 14 days.


In Bolanos’ case, the application was 19 days late. He argued that even if the application is late, the court can still accept other factors that may help him.

But Judge To rejected Bolanos’ excuse that he was in prison at that time, saying that he did not present evidence to prove that his being in jail caused an acceptable delay.


“Giving him the benefit of doubt because of his age and the inconvenience occasioned by his detention, this Court was prepared to condone his delay, if he can show a good prospect of success in his intended appeal,” said Judge To.

But Bolanos still fell short -- in both his summons and supporting affirmation, as he did not cite reasons for his appeal, said the judge. 

On Jan. 4, the court sent Bolanos a letter telling him to file a statement by Jan. 20 setting out reasons why he should not be sent home. The letter sent to him, addressed to Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution,  was returned by mail on Feb. 7, marked “No such person”.


It turned out that Bolanos had been deported on Oct. 20.

“Though the direction letter did not reach him, the fact remains that he was late in lodging his appeal and he has advanced no grounds for his intended appeal which show a good prospect of success,” concluded Judge To.

Bolanos was  sent to jail in April 2019 for using a false instrument to withdraw US$943 billion from HSBC, claiming the amount was given to him by the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

Last September,  he also failed to gain freedom through a habeas corpus application asking the High Court to declare his detention illegal.

Court of First Instance Judge Russell Coleman said in a written decision on Sept. 19: “…in this hearing, the real focus is on whether there is and continues to be lawful detention.  In my view, there is.  But, it is also clear that the detention can cease very shortly, tomorrow, upon the intended repatriation of the Applicant.”

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