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Pregnant overstayer given suspended 7-week sentence

19 November 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

A pregnant Filipina former domestic helper who overstayed her visa for five months was sentenced by a Shatin magistrate on Nov 19 to seven weeks in jail, suspended for two years.

That meant that the defendant, Viola, who is seven months pregnant, was free to return home to the Philippines so she can deliver her baby there.

Shatin court

Viola, 32, appeared before Magistrate Wong Sze-lai and pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching her condition of stay.

She had surrendered herself to the Immigration Department in Kowloon Bay on Nov 7.

Outside the courtroom, the Filipina was overjoyed. “Sa wakas, makakauwi na rin ako,” she said.

She told The SUN that her baby’s father was a Filipino worker who she met in Hong Kong and had gone back home. She said the man was waiting for her and their baby. 

The court heard that the Filipina came to Hong Kong on a domestic worker visa on Nov 10 last year, but her contract ended prematurely and she was allowed to stay until June 7. She stayed here illegally after her visa expired.

In mitigation, Viola’s court-appointed lawyer said the Filipina’s employer terminated their contract because the family was moving to another country.                                                             

Viola tried but failed to find a new employer until her visa expired.

The lawyer pleaded for a lenient sentence, citing Viola’s surrender, and the fact that she’s already seven months pregnant.

Wong said that in consideration of the offender’s condition, she was imposing a suspended, instead of a custodial, sentence. 

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