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Filipina overstayer escapes jail time

20 January 2022

By Leo A. Deocadiz 

The Shatin magistrate imposed a sentence more lenient than the one suggested by the defence

A Filipina escaped jail today, Jan. 20, despite pleading guilty to breach of condition of stay, which is punishable under the Immigration Ordinance by a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment of up to two years.

Acting Principal Magistrate of Shatin Court David Cheung Chi-wai convicted I.V. Macanta as charged and sentenced her to 16 days in prison, but suspended the punishment for 12 months.

This allowed Macanta to stay out of jail, but she was warned that if she commits a new crime in the next 12 months, she would have to serve her sentence, plus the punishment for the new crime.


Macanta arrived in Hong Kong in April 2019 as a domestic helper. However, her contract was terminated by her employer in October 2020 after she became pregnant.

She initially got 14-day extensions of her visa, the last of which was on Feb. 5, 2021, until she was told on Feb. 23 that her application for visa extension was rejected and that she should report to Immigration to deportation proceedings.

From then on, she did not show up until Nov. 17, 2021.


After the facts of the case were read to her, Macanta pleaded guilty.

Macanta’s lawyer explained that during the seven and a half months that she was missing, she gave birth and took care of her baby. He added that the baby’s father was a Hong Kong resident.

The lawyer also said she took care of her partner’s mother.

The lawyer sought leniency for her, citing her clean record, and recommended a suspended sentence of 24 days so that she could take care of her baby, who was just outside the court room, being looked after by the father.


In his ruling, the judge shortened the recommended period to 16 days.

Asked how she felt about the proceedings afterwards, Macanta blurted out: “Salamat!”

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