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Macau-based DH arrested in HK over alleged loan fraud

08 February 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
The Filipina was arrested at the HK-Macau ferry terminal in Sheung Wan three years after jumping bail

A Filipina domestic worker in Macau who came to Hong Kong for a visit has been arrested and charged in Eastern Court for allegedly taking a $20,000 loan from a lending company in 2016 using a terminated work contract.

Melessa Francisco, 27, was refused bail by Magistrate Peter Law when she appeared in court on Feb 8, a day after she was held at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan while trying to re-enter the SAR.

No plea was taken from the defendant as police continued their investigation, according to the prosecution, which opposed the woman’s bail application for absconding in 2017 while on police bail.

The prosecution said that Francisco, a helper earning the equivalent of $3,700 in Macau, was charged with “obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception”.

The case stemmed from her alleged dishonesty when she borrowed money from Prime Credit on Jul 16, 2016 using her contract that had already been terminated.

Francisco found a new employer later, but did not repay the loan. By then, the lending company had discovered the deception and reported it to the police.

Officers were able to locate the defendant and arrested her in December 2017, but she reportedly jumped police bail. Francisco eventually got a job also as a helper in Macau.

The defendant applied for bail of $500, but Magistrate Law rejected the application saying she was likely to abscond again as in 2017. Law also cited as reason the seriousness of the offense, and the defendant’s lack of local ties.

But the magistrate told Francisco she could try applying for bail in the High Court and adjourned the case to Mar 8.

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