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Fine, community work imposed on employer of 'abused' Filipina helper

04 November 2019

By The SUN

The elderly former employer of a Filipina helper who complained of abuse at the hands of the employer’s partner has been fined $33,000 and ordered to do 160 hours of community service for failing to pay wages on time and letting the maid do illegal work.

Lanie Grace with Au, who was allowed to go scot-free

Shatin Magistrate Wong Tsz-ho imposed the sentences on 64-year-old Leung Shet-ying on Nov 4, three weeks after she pleaded guilty to the charges relating to her employment of Lanie Grace Rosareal.

Wong imposed a fine of $3,000 for each of the 10 counts of failing to pay wages on time, and one count of failing to pay wages within due date on termination of contract.
The community service was imposed on Leung for each of the four counts of aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring the breach of condition of stay but to be served concurrently.

The particulars of each offense were, however, not read out in court.

Leung’s partner, Au Wai-chun, 66, was originally charged of the same offences but the prosecution offered no evidence against her so she was cleared of all criminal liabilities.

Rosareal, 28, who fled Leung’s flat in November 2017, claiming to have been subjected to a year of physical abuse by Au, expressed disappointment at the outcome of the case.

“Masama ang loob ko kasi si Leung ay pinagmulta lang at hindi kinulong samantalang ang laki ng ginawang kasalanan sa akin. Pero mas grabe pa rin yung hindi man lang kinasuhan si Au. Kung sino pa ang yung nakagawa ng matinding kasalanan ay yun pa ang napawalang sala,” said Rosareal.

She was informed by the Tseung Kwan O Police earlier that they decided not to file charges against both Leung and Au at the advice of the Justice Department.

Human rights lawyer Patricia Measor-Ho, who has offered pro bono legal aid to Rosareal, is outraged by the police inaction, and has expressed plan to seek judicial review of the decision not to prosecute the two.
Separately, Rosareal will be helped in pursuing her labour claim of more than $200,000 for unpaid wages and other benefits from Leung, and a possible civil claim for damages against both Leung and Au.

The helper had accused the two of physically and mentally abusing her since May 2016 but police informed her in September this year that they would not be prosecuting, citing insufficient evidence.

Rosareal worked for Leung and Au from Jan 24, 2014 until Nov 9, 2017, when she and another co-helper, Rowela Subiono Suete, 36, were rescued from the employers’ flat in Tseung Kwan O after they asked for help on social media.

Rosareal had backed up her claims with pictures of wounds allegedly inflicted by Au which were still evident when she fled her employers.

Lanie Grace with her bruised forehead after her alleged ordeal
She also had a penalty notebook” in which Au made the helper list down all sorts of imaginary infractions, for which a corresponding penalty was imposed. These penalties were used by Leung and Au in justifying the non-payment of wages to Rosareal for six months.

The penalty notebook where Au scrawled the cost of each of Lanie's imaginary mistakes
Suete, who accompanied Rosareal to the police to file a complaint, returned to the Philippines after settling her labour claim against Leung.

Suete had offered to testify for Rosareal, but was not asked to give a statement.
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