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Prosecutors drop rape case vs African man in alley video scandal

Posted on 19 April 2021 No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The incident happened in the staircase of this building in the alleys

A rape case filed by a Filipina domestic helper against an African man who allegedly assaulted her sexually on a staircase in one of Central’s alleys has been dropped by the prosecution.

This has been confirmed by the Department of Justice, which said it could not continue pursuing the rape complaint against the suspect, Obi Collins, due to insufficient evidence.

“Having thoroughly considered the evidence in the case, the applicable law and the Prosecution Code, the Department of Justice considered that there was insufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction, and thus decided to discontinue the prosecution,” a DOJ spokesman said in reply to a query from The SUN Hong Kong.

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The complainant, who had initially sought help from The SUN, said she did not wish to pursue the case as she feared losing her job. She also said she was disappointed that some of her friends who were with her that day did not want to speak up.

Collins was charged with rape in Eastern Court on July 15 last year for allegedly waylaying the helper on the fifth floor staircase of Fai Man Building on 13 Li Yuen St West, one of the two narrow passages that Filipinos call “alley-alley”.

CG Tejada says Filipinos should go to the Consulate if they get into trouble

The case was last slated for mention at Eastern Court 1 on Dec 21, 2020, but nothing was heard about it since. The police did not want to comment when contacted for a follow-up, and referred the inquiry to the DOJ.

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Consul General Raly Tejada said that when Filipinos find themselves in situations such as this, they should assert their rights, call the police right away and go to a medical check-up for evidence to be collected and preserved for trial, and seek help from the Consulate.

“My message to our Kababayans is to assert their rights at all times. The Consulate is here to assist and provide necessary guidance to all Filipinos in Hong Kong who will face a similar situation,” ConGen Tejada said when asked to comment on the dismissal of the case.

"Sa mga susuong sa ganitong pagsubok, magpakatatag lang po and maghain ng reklamo at the earliest possible opportunity,” he said. (To those who go through this kind of ordeal, just stay strong and file a complaint at the earliest possible opportunity.)

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“Make sure to go to a doctor to undergo forensic examination so that any evidence collected can be properly preserved and presented at trial. Rest assured that PCG will be assisting you all the way,” ConGen Tejada said.

Two weeks ago, the leader of an African community group in Hong Kong bragged about the acquittal of the suspect in his weekly online video program, saying that the innocent African boy was vindicated.

The program host, who calls himself Capo Daniel, added that Hong Kong police are quick to arrest Africans for crimes that they have not committed.

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He said that the rape charge was dropped after the Philippine Consulate talked to the woman and asked her to withdraw the case.

Consul Paul Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section, denied this. “I wasn’t even aware that a rape case was filed until you asked me about it because the alleged rape victim did not come to us to ask for help,” Saret said.

The case stemmed from a video that went viral online showing a burly black man and a Filipina who appeared to be having sexual intercourse in the dimly lit staircase of Fai Man Building. The building had no security guards and no CCTV cameras on the staircase.

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Somebody who filmed the episode from the top of the stairs with a phone camera posted the footage online, calling it the “Alley-alley Scandal”. Since then, it had been shared many times over and viewed by thousands of individuals.

Street sign on the alley where it happened

The Filipina woman in the video complained to the police accompanied by her employer, who was reportedly appalled by what happened. That was the reason she did not go to the Consulate anymore, she said.

She said the assault happened after she and some female friends went to celebrate a birthday in a pub operated by Filipinos on the fifth floor of the building. They had been drinking alcohol. There was a group of black men including the suspect sitting at a table nearby.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

She said the men were trying to chat with her group but the Filipinas ignored them and continued their celebration. Around 7pm, the alleged victim stood up and bade her friends goodbye because she had had enough drinks and her curfew was early.

The woman walked groggily to the lift but it was in use, so she took the stairs. She said she didn’t notice when Collins followed her and grabbed her while she going down the staircase, and started raping her. She said she was too drunk to resist.

In previous videos on the Afri Kong group’s Facebook page, who claims to be the defense chief of the Ambazonia Defense Force, had also boasted that African men are being chased and fought over by Filipinas in Hong Kong.

He accompanied his claim with a video showing two Filipina helpers fighting fiercely on Chater Road in Central over what the man said was an African man.

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12 new Covid-19 cases reported, including 2 Filipina DHs with variant

Posted on No comments

By The SUN

The 2 Filipina DHs with the variant had flown in via CX 906

Twelve additional cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were reported today, Apr 19, all but one of them imported.

The only local case was linked to an earlier cluster of infections detected at Oi Fai House in Tuen Mun.

Of the 11 imported cases, three were also found to carry the highly infectious N501Y variant, including two foreign domestic helpers from the Philippines, aged 35 and 36; and a year-old baby boy from India.

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The two Filipina DHs triggered a two-week suspension of Cathay Pacific flight CX 906 starting today as it carried at least two passengers who tested positive on arrival on two different flights from Manila. The flights arrived on Apr 14 and 17.

Since the FDHs were also the 4th and 5th passengers from the Philippines found to be carrying the variant on arrival, a total flight ban on the Philippines would have taken effect.

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But this was superseded by last night’s decision by the Department of Health to impose the two-week flight suspension on all flights not just from the Philippines, but also from India and Pakistan.

This was prompted by fears that the mutated virus had spread within the community after an Indian man who had flown in from Dubai was found to have the variant  10 days after being released from his 21-day hotel quarantine.

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His girlfriend with whom he had stayed in a flat in Jordan after his quarantine was also found to carry the variant, the second local case detected.

This prompted health officials to clamp down on the three countries from where the most number of imported cases with the variant had come from recently, relegating them to the “extremely high risk” category, and imposing a flight ban on them for 14 days.

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Aside from the two FDHs, one other passenger from the Philippines was found infected on arrival on Apr 18. The 44-year-old female resident came in via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 272.

There were also six other passengers from India who were found infected, apart from the baby who tested positive for the mutated form of coronavirus on his 12th day sample.

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Three of them all took Vistara’s flight UK 6397 which arrived yesterday, comprising two females aged 22 and 53, and a 32-year old male.

Another passenger from India, a 27-year-old man, arrived on Apr 17 via flight QR818, and tested positive at the airport. The two remaining ones both tested positive on their second sample taken on the 12th day of their hotel quarantine, a 45-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man.

More residents have been evacuated from Oi Fai House after a new infection was found

Today’s sole local case prompted the evacuation of  all remaining asymptomatic residents on the 8th floor of block 2 of Oi Fai House, Yau Oi Estate, who will all be sent to quarantine centers. Those found with symptoms will be sent to hospital for treatment.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

One preliminary case was reported today, involving a 31-year-old woman who works at a clinic in The Centrium on Wyndham Street in Central. She is linked to the woman living on Parkes Building who was reported positive yesterday.

All her close contacts, including fellow staff and patients, have been sent to quarantine, while the building was put under compulsory testing notice.

Meanwhile, the government said a 21-year-old female kindergarten teacher who was listed as a preliminary case on Apr 17 by the Centre for Health Protection has not been confirmed to have the virus.

A sample taken from yielded an indeterminate result after being tested by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the Department of Health. Further tests on her at a hospital showed she was negative for Covid-19 and did not have antibodies.

“As such, the case will not be classified as a confirmed case at the moment,” said the government statement.

CHP had earlier said that about 100 people deemed to be close contacts of the kindergarten teacher had been sent to quarantine, including fellow guests at a wedding banquet where about 200 guests had gathered.

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HK suspends flights from Philippines, India and Pakistan

Posted on 18 April 2021 No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The flight ban was imposed after the 3 countries were designated 'extremely high risk'

Hong Kong announced late Sunday, Apr 18, that it will stop flights from the Philippines, India and Pakistan for 14 days starting Monday midnight, in line with its “circuit breaker mechanism” under tightened travel restrictions.

At the same time, all three countries have been moved to the “extremely high risk” category, which means anyone who had stayed in these places for more than two hours in the past 21 days are prohibited from boarding a flight to Hong Kong. This is to prevent people from these countries from entering Hong Kong via transit from another place.

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On top of this, travelers from “extremely high risk” places should, after completing 21 days of hotel quarantine, undergo self-monitoring for seven days, and take a fourth Covid-19 test on the 26th day after arrival in Hong Kong.

As of now, three other countries are in this category: the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, where the first mutated strains of the coronavirus were first detected.

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The government statement said the decision to add the three Asian countries to this list was triggered by the case of a man who was found Saturday to have the coronavirus variant 10 days after completing his 21-day quarantine.

The Indian man who had flown in from Dubai, appeared to have infected his Hong Kong-based girlfriend who was also found to carry the variant Sunday.

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As a result of the case, and “for the sake of prudence,” the government said it reviewed imported cases from the past 14 days and decided to implement the “circuit breaker” it put in place recently to stop the spread of the highly infectious variant in the community.

The study reportedly showed the N501Y variant was found in the prescribed number among new arrivals from India, Pakistan and the Philippines in the past two weeks.

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Under the new restrictions that took effect on Apr 14, a total flight ban was supposed to be imposed on any place only when (1) a cumulative number of five passengers (2) are found to have the variant on arrival in Hong Kong (3) within a seven-day-period.

Since it took effect, however, the Philippines is the only place where the prescribed criteria have been met. Two arrivals from Manila were found to have the variant on arrival on Friday, another one on Saturday, and two more Sunday.

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However, far more passengers from India and Pakistan have been testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival, and a big number have been found to have both the virus and the variant while under quarantine.

Of the 29 imported cases recorded Monday, 22 had flown in from India.

More than 100,000 new Covid cases have been recorded in India in a single day

The domestic infection rate in all three countries has been surging as well, with India posting more than 100,000 cases on a single day lately. The surge has also been happening in the Philippines, where the total number of Covid-19 cases is now nearing the one-million mark.

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Earlier, the government announced it was suspending Cathay Pacific Airways from flying from Manila to Hong Kong from tomorrow until May 2, after two of its flights had each carried two passengers confirmed to have Covid-19 on arrival at the airport.

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The flights that carried the infected passengers arrived on Apr 14 and 17.

Similary banned for the same period was Vistara Airlines flight from Mumbai, India. According to a government press release, Vistara’s flight UK6397 which arrived Sunday had three passengers confirmed to have Covid-19 on their arrival test at the airport.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Both CX 906 and UK6397 had been banned previously for the same infraction. 

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HK confirms 30 mostly imported cases including Filipina DH with variant

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

A record 29 imported cases were reported today

Hong Kong had only one local coronavirus case today, April 18, but its caseload for the day rose to 30 as the rest who tested positive were new arrivals from abroad, including one Filipina and four Indonesian domestic helpers. A record number of 22 infected travelers from India was also reported.

Today’s imported cases were the most recorded in a single day since Mar 15 and took the total tally to 11,684.

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The Centre for Health Protection announced the jump in cases as Health Secretary Sophia Chan said today the government is looking at further tightening hotel quarantine measures and flight restrictions, and banning more flights from high-risk countries.

Chan said in a radio show officials need to assess the situation and discuss with experts before deciding whether stricter measures were warranted.

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She spoke after a 29-year-old Indian man who returned from Dubai and completed 21 days of quarantine tested positive for Covid-19.

The man’s 31-year-old girlfriend, with whom he lives in Parkes Building in Jordan, is today’s only local case. Like her boyfriend, she was found to have the N501Y variant.

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Among today’s imported cases, only the 35-year-old Filipina DH who flew in aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 300 on Apr 16 and tested positive at the airport, was found to carry the mutated virus.

She brought to three the number of new arrivals from Manila found with the variant since yesterday. Only two more such cases in the next five days would trigger a two-week suspension of all flights from Manila under Hong Kong’s enhanced entry restrictions that took effect on Wednesday, Apr 14.

Today's variant carrier from Manila is the 3rd in 2 days

Chan said Hong Kong strengthened its suspension of flights mechanism as more passengers who arrived recently from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan and other places testing positive with some carrying the highly infectious  N501Y variant.

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“If we look at the past data, from March to now, we have already suspended seven flights for 14 days from different countries. And therefore, with this new mechanism, we envisage that we will be suspending more flights,” she added.

Two of today’s four Indonesian patients arrived on Apr 16 via Cathay Pacific Flight CX798 from Jakarta while the third arrived on CX798 on Apr 17.

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The fourth was asymptomatic upon arrival on Mar 31 and was quarantined at Ramada Hong Kong Harbourview in Sai Ying Pun. Her sample collected on Day 19 tested positive.

All 22 imported cases who arrived from India on April 4 via Vistara Flight UK6395 from New Delhi tested positive after their 12th day of hotel quarantine, the CHP said.

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Ten of them stayed at Ramada Hong Kong Grandview in North Point, six at Ramada Hong Kong Harbourview at Sai Ying Pun, four at Regal Airport Hotel Chek Lap Kok, and two at Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong.

Two other foreign cases were a man, 19, who arrived from Egypt on a Qatar Air Flight 818 from Doha and developed symptoms upon his arrival on Apr 16, and a woman from Canada aged 22 who arrived on an unknown day this month and tested positive after her 12th day of quarantine at Ramada Hong Kong Grandview in North Point.

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A total of 152 cases have been recorded in the past 14 days from Apr 4 to 17, including 36 local cases of which 12 are from unknown sources.

The Hospital Authority said as of 9am today, a total of 144 confirmed patients were neing treated in 18 public hospitals and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Four patients of the patients are in critical condition, three are serious and the remaining 137 patients stable.

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Case filed by kin of FDH in Mid-Levels death fall dismissed

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Diola left behind her common-law-husband Jose and their son, Vivejo

A compensation claim filed by the heirs of a Filipina domestic worker who fell to her death from her employer’s Mid-Levels apartment more than six years ago was dismissed on Friday, Apr 16, after neither party appeared for the court hearing.

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District Court judge Katina Levy ordered the case dropped after the common-law husband of the deceased, Ruby Ann Diola, or his representatives, failed to show up for the hearing. Also a no-show was employer Cheung Yeuk Lee.

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It is not clear if the case could be refiled by claimants Virginio V. Jose and Vivejo, his son with Diola.

The father-and-son were represented in court initially by Edwina Antonio, case officer of the Mission for Migrant Workers. But when interviewed on the phone, Antonio said another non-government organization had taken over the case, and she was not aware why it was no longer pursued.

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Diola, a native of Palo, Leyte, fell to her death on Oct 23, 2014 from the residential tower on Robinson Road where Cheung lived. It took the police a year to rule out foul play and classify the case as “death by falling”.

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During a hearing of the case in June 2017, Judge Levy said she was not sure if Antonio had the capacity to represent Jose under Hong Kong law.

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The judge also said Cheung should have been at the hearing because she was the employer of the deceased, and had been fined $5,000 for failing to take out a domestic helper’s insurance on Diola.

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Diola lived with Jose and their son in Lingayen, where they operated a mineral water business, until she came to work in Hong Kong as a domestic worker in 2014.

She terminated her contract with her first employer in May 2014 and was hired by Cheung through an agency.

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According to the statement made by 67-year-old Jose to the police, Diola told him in phone conversations that she was taken by Cheung to Beijing where the Filipina was made to work for about a month without a contract.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Diola was taken afterwards to Macau by the employer’s grown-up son to wait for her Hong Kong visa there. She finally got it in September, 2014, after staying in the enclave for two months.

A month later, Diola was found lifeless beside the swimming pool in Cheung's residential block. She was just 26.

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