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Lawyer to challenge police interview of 2 Pinays in alleged online sex ring

05 June 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao 
Eastern Court magistrate rejects bail application by the 2 Filipina maids

A lawyer representing two Filipina helpers allegedly caught manning pay-for-sex websites in Mid-Levels has said he will challenge a video-recorded interview by the police of the defendant as they were conducted in the absence of counsel.

The two, Joan E. Palpal-latoc, 40, and Jeanette V. Gallego, 47, reportedly admitted their roles in the illicit operation in the police interviews.

Their lawyer made the statement as Eastern Magistrate Veronica Heung rejected the bail application of the defendants, citing as reasons their lack of local ties, the severity of the case against them, and the possibility that they would dispose of evidence.

She made the ruling despite being told that the Philippine Consulate was willing to provide shelter to the defendants if they were allowed bail.

The two Filipinas are facing a charge each of living on the earnings of a prostitute. They are due to appear in court again on Jul 13.

The prosecution opposed granting temporary freedom to the two even though they raised their bail offer from $10,000 to $25,000 each.

The prosecutor reiterated that Palpal-latoc and Gallego operated a number of dating websites operated by a company duly registered in Hong Kong, and owned by a certain Miss Wong, their employer.

Wong and two others were arrested along with the two Filipina helpers at the company’s registered address, a luxury flat on Tregunter Path in Mid-Levels.

The prosecutor said decoy police officers posing as customers found out that the two Filipinas were manning the online sites that offered sex with foreign prostitutes in a call-center-like operation.

Palpal-latoc reportedly told police in the filmed interview that she knew about the operation of the websites, the company’s operation and its income from the online sex dealing. She said she received 0.005% from the net earnings of the company.

The prosecutor said Gallego admitted in a separate interview that she received $1,200 a month as her reward for taking part in the illicit operation, but she was not a shareholder of the company. 

The company, which the prosecution didn’t name, allegedly targeted wealthy foreign tourists who logged on to the websites to transact business.

Police are continuing their investigation into the roles of the three other accused.
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