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Filipina linked to love scam jailed 8 months

24 October 2023


A Filipina domestic helper was sent to jail for eight months after pleading guilty to money laundering of proceeds from a love scam, while her four co-defendants denied the charges, setting the stage for a four-day trial at the Eastern Court.

Magistrate Minnie Wat handed the sentence to Maila Samson, 50 years old, after setting aside her lawyer’s plea for a light sentence and giving her credit only for her guilty plea with a 1/3 discount on the usual punishment of 12 months in prison.

Samson was immediately ushered into the detention area to start her prison term.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The hearing, held on Friday Oct. 20, continued with the co-defendants -- Wong Siu-uen, Marife Dionson, Geraldine Tolentino and Ires Calinawagan – pleading not guilty, and the prosecutors’ discussing their plan to rely mostly on video-recorded interviews the four gave to police.

But Magistrate Wat had to hand the case over to Principal Magistrate Ivy Chui to schedule the trial.

In a separate hearing, Magistrate Chui set the trial for Jan 23-26 next year.


Samson was charged with dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable crime, which is punishable under the Organized Serious Crimes Ordinance.

Her Hang Seng Bank account was linkled to an online love scam in which a Hong Kong woman was swindled of several millions of Hong Kong dollars.

A total of HK$571,850 and US$4,501.61 – part of which was believed to have been proceeds of the love scam -- were deposited and withdrawn in her account between July 15, 2020 and Aug. 7, 2020. In HKD, the total amount was about $607,000.


During police investigation, Samson claimed that she had earlier lost the ATM card for this account along with her wallet and passport, but admitted she did not report the loss to the bank or applied for a new card, which could have prevented the misuse of her account.

The four co-defendants face similar charges. Wong was freed on $2,000 bail while the other Filipinos posted bail of $1,000 each.

Wong, 53, together with another person with a name written in Chinese, had the biggest amount deposited and withdrawn in her Hang Seng Bank account, at a total of $776,460 between June 15, 2020 and Aug. 20, 2020.

Pindutin dito

The HSBC account of Dionson, 43, saw the inflow and outflow of a total of $358,300 within two days --on July 8 and 9, 2020.

Tolentino, 38, together with a person named “Wai”, had her HSBC receive $566,438 in deposits that were withdrawn within five days, on July 15-20, 2020.

The HSBC account of Calinawagan, 49, was used as temporary depository for $714,406 on July 10 to 23, 2020.

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