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Pinay moms win initial court bid to question their expulsion from HK

08 November 2018

By The SUN
Pinay moms allowed by HK's highest court to question Immigration's right to expel them

A long-standing case that raises the important issue of whether a non-resident parent of a minor child with right of abode in Hong Kong could be allowed to remain in the territory, is set to be heard at the High Court on Feb. 28 next year.

This was after the Court of Final Appeal granted leave today, Nov. 7, to two Filipinas, Milagros T. Comilang and Desiree R. Luis, as well as their co-appellant children, to question the Immigration Director’s decision refusing the mothers to stay in Hong Kong.

Comilang has been fighting for her right to remain in the city with her now 12-year-old daughter Zahra since 2007. Luis, who has three sons, David John, now 16; Carl Benz, 14; and Mark Joely, 7; initiated her case in 2012.

The CFA, through Justices Roberto Ribeiro, Joseph Fok and Frank Stock, granted leave after deciding that the case involved an issue of "great general and public importance". 

The decision was an initial victory for the applicants’ fight to enjoy family together in Hong Kong, after suffering initial setbacks at both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal.

The applicants raised the question of whether the Immigration director was obliged by law to take into account the rights of the children when deciding whether their parents with no right of abode should be allowed to remain in Hong Kong.

A final decision on the case could impact thousands of children born in Hong Kong to parents who are mostly foreign domestic workers, or those who have overstayed their visas but are allowed to remain either to pursue an asylum application, or for other reasons. 

During the hour-long hearing, a significant number of asylum-seekers and their children, as well as supporters from NGOs and rights groups, arrived and filled the court’s gallery, leading security personnel to open an adjacent hall for spillovers.

Not one of the applicants was around, but all were represented in court by lawyers from Daly & Associates. 

The case stemmed from the Immigration Director’s refusal to allow Comilang and Luis, who have lived in Hong Kong for 21 and 27 years, respectively, to remain here and take care of their children, two of whom are said to have serious health problems.  

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