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Agency staff faces 18 charges in Filipino jobs scam case; owner linked to 1

25 April 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The Filipina appeared in Kwun Tong court, charged with illegally collecting money from the job applicants

Eighteen charges were filed in Kwun Tong Court on Apr 23 against a Filipina staff of recruitment company for the alleged collection of $180,000 from Filipino jobseekers in Hong Kong and Macau.

Her boss was linked to only one of the charges of “engaging in a commercial practice that constitutes wrongly accepting payment for a product.”

Marijane Biscocho, 42, and her boss Lennis Ebrahim, 55, originally faced a charge of “applying a false trade description to a service offered to consumers” in connection with the case.
But the original charge was withdrawn, and Biscocho was instead charged with 17 counts of the new offense, and one for Ebrahim.

The prosecution said the charges against Biscocho were filed after Customs officers received additional complaints against her.

The new charge was not read out in court, but it was listed on the new hearing date for the two on the HK Judiciary’s website.

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Magistrate Chui adjourned the hearing until May 21 for further investigation and legal advice. She remanded Biscocho in custody, and extended Ebrahim’s bail.

Ebrahim, owner of the unlicensed WHT Consultants Co. that allegedly carried out the recruitment, was named in only the fourth of the new charges, the prosecutor said, but did not give details.

Fifteen prosecution witnesses have reportedly come forward.

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All the charges are related to the alleged collection of placement fees from the Filipino applicants for fictitious jobs in Hong Kong and Macau.

Magistrate Ivy Chui suspended the hearing in the morning after learning that Biscocho was not represented by a lawyer. She told the defendant to go to the Duty Lawyer Service to apply for legal representation.

“You need a lawyer to represent you because you are now facing 18 charges,” the magistrate told the Filipina.
The hearing resumed about half past noon when a lawyer assigned to Biscocho arrived.

Chui, however, withheld the reading of the new charges in court as Ebrahim was again absent from the hearing reportedly due to sickness.

She did not appear either in the earlier hearing on Apr 7.

Ebrahim’s lawyer applied anew for an order that will allow his client to report to police only every Saturday, but Chui did not allow it.

The application was similar to one refused by another magistrate, Andrew Mok previously.

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