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Staff of 2 employment agencies deny overcharging FDWs

08 May 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The staff were charged in Eastern court in Sai Wan Ho

Three Filipina employment agency staff pleaded not guilty today, May 8, at Eastern court, to separate counts of charging two domestic workers more than what is allowed by law.

The amount involved in the two cases was between $500 and almost $2,000, whereas the legal charge should have been $452, or 10% of the then prevailing minimum wage of $4,520.

In the first case, defendant Glenda Beranda, an associate at Bandung Enterprises, pleaded not guilty to a charge of “excessive commission” before Magistrate Poon Siu-bunn.

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The prosecution said that between Jan 15 and Feb 15 last year, Beranda received from job applicant Rosita Javier the sum of $1,998 as placement fee.

Under Hong Kong laws, an employment agency can only charge 10% of a domestic worker’s first monthly salary as commission. This means the fee is payable only after the worker has received her first salary.

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The worker complained to the Labour Department, which investigated and charged Beranda. The prosecutor said he would present two witnesses.

The prosecutor asked for a six-week break, but the defense lawyer said the earliest date that he would be available is Aug 10. Magistrate Poon said the case had been delayed too long, and set the trial for May 25.
Two similar charges of “excessive commission” against defendants Juliet Balicao and Melanie Fisher, associates of Millennium Employment Services, were consolidated by the prosecutor as they involved only one job applicant, Maribel Madeja.


But in this case, the amount allegedly collected by the two was only for a total of $500, a difference of just $48 compared with the $452 that they should have charged. Madeja was placed by the two between January and February last year,

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor said he would call two witnesses including the domestic helper. The defendants said they would not present any witness.

Magistrate Poon scheduled the trial for Jun 12.
   
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