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Showing posts with label featured. Show all posts
Showing posts with label featured. Show all posts

DH jailed 10 months for stealing jewelry worth $181K

Posted on 12 June 2024 No comments

 

Laguna Verde in Hung Hom, where the theft was committed

A Filipina domestic helper has been jailed for 10 months after admitting that she stole jewelry valued at a total of $180,600 from her employer on two occasions earlier this year.

Ma. Victoria Barela, 32 years old, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (June 11) at Kowloon City Court to charges of theft at her employer’s house at Laguna Verde in Hung Hom on unspecified dates last January and February.

The charges were filed by the Kowloon City Police last April 26.

TAWAG NA!

The first charge was for the theft of three necklaces and a pendant valued at a total of $49,000 while the second involved a diamond bracelet, two diamond rings and a gold bracelet worth $131,600.

Magistrate Philip Chan sentenced Barela to four months for the first charge and eight months for the second offense, after deducting the one-third discount to which those who plead guilty are entitled.

Magistrate Chan also ordered that two months of the first charge should run at the same time as the second charge, so the final sentence became 10 months in jail.

Free rides, museum visits to mark Handover anniversary

Posted on 11 June 2024 No comments

 

The free rides on trams on July 1 will be for everyone (HK Tramways photo)

A series of freebies are being planned for July 1, as part of celebrations to mark the 27th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

The plan was disclosed by Chief Executive John Lee, during a press briefing earlier today.

He said the treats will include traveling for free on trams, light rail and certain MTR buses in the northwest New Territories, as well as free entry to various indoor and outdoor facilities run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

These include the permanent exhibitions at the HK Science Museum, HK Space Museum, the HK Museum of Art, History Museum, HK Palace Museum and all exhibitions at the M+ in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Entry to HK Wetland Park will also be free on this day.

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Visitors to Ocean Park will get 30 percent off their tickets between June 29 and July 1, and children as well as the elderly will get discounted tickets when they take the Peak Tram on July 1. Similarly, round-trip tickets to on standard cable cars at Ngong Ping 360 will be offered at 30% discount to children and seniors.

In addition, more than 1,000 restaurants will offer discounts on July 1 while the HK International Airport and some malls will host various activities and provide special offers.

The Chief Executive said more details will be revealed by various government departments and organizations at a later date.

Filipina convicted in airport theft gets maximum penalty

Posted on No comments

 

The stolen backpack fell inside the departure area of HK Intl Airport

A Filipina convicted last month of stealing a backpack containing cash and personal documents in the restricted area of the airport, today received the maximum prison term of six months  recommended by the sentencing guidelines.

Ana Labicane, 55, was jaIled for stealing a backpack that fell from a carry-on luggage being pulled by a Hong Kong resident who was catching a flight to Taiwan in the early morning of March 5, 2023 in the Departure Hall of the Hong Kong Airport.

The stolen bag contained cash of HK$630, one Octopus card, two Taiwan prepaid transportation cards, 11,100 Taiwan dollars in cash, one cosmetic bag, two passport holders, one HK passport, one wallet, one HKID card, one WeWu UnionPay credit card, and four ATM cards.

TAWAG NA!

Labicane wept quietly at the West Kowloon Court as Magistrate Tsang Hing-tung cited his reasons for the stiffest of the three to six months’ imprisonment he was allowed to impose on her.

She had no remorse, Magistrate Tsang said, citing Labicane’s not-guilty plea which wasted the court’s time and resources, her evasive answers during the trial, and her claim that she did not realize that what she did was illegal.

She also breached the trust given her by the Airport Authority, which allowed her to work in the restricted area, not to mention spoiling the holiday of the backpack’s owner, who missed her flight and had to buy a new ticket.

In the trial, Labicane’s defense was to question her identity and her previous cautioned statement to police where she admitted the theft, Tsang said.

But evidence proved her guilt, with CCTV footage showing her picking up the bag, carrying it to the bakery shop where she worked, then hiding it in the storage room. She was later filmed going to two toilets, where some contents of the bag were later found to have been discarded.

Labicane was found to have taken the cash and discarded the personal documents, some if which were not recovered.

“It poses a security risk to the owner if these items went to the wrong hands,” Tsang added.

Thousands watch drone show to mark Tuen Ng Festival

Posted on No comments

 

The Dragon Boat image formed by more than 1k drones (photo by Irene Liban)

Thousands of people gathered along the Wan Chai waterfront last night to watch the first ever drone show held to mark Tuen Ng, or the Dragon Boat Festival, in Hong Kong.

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The night sky was lit by more than a thousand drones that created various images, all inspired by the spirit of the traditional Chinese holiday which intertwines praying for good luck and taking respite from the summer heat.

A fierce-looking dragon lights up the sky (photo by Gail Hills)


The festivity is marked by holding dragon boat races and eating sticky rice dumplings called zongzi, which were among the images formed by the drones, leaving spectators gasping and applauding in delight.

Many of them held up smartphones to record the rare visual feast.

Thousands lined up the Wanchai harbourfront for the drone show (Irene Liban)

Before the show, thousands of people were treated to free ice cream by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which also recommended the best viewing spots for the drone show. The refreshing treat lasted until the supply had run out.

The spectacular light and image show started at 8pm amid a nearly cloudless sky, and lasted for 10 minutes.

It was held as part of the HK Tourism Board’s effort to attract more visitors to Hong Kong.

Employers blackmailed into paying fake loans of helpers, says DAB

Posted on 10 June 2024 No comments

 

DAB says 20 employers have been victimized (RTHK photo)

Members of the pro-Beijing political party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) has exposed a scam where employers are blackmailed by debt collectors into repaying money supposedly borrowed by their helpers.

According to DAB lawmaker Edward Leung, around 20 employers have contacted his group since April to complain about debt collectors who tricked their helpers into providing personal information while filling out online forms to inquire about loans.

As part of the inquiry, the helpers were required to provide the employer’s personal details and photos, which the helpers apparently supplied. The helpers were also asked to provide their bank account information.

TAWAG NA!

Immediately afterwards, the helpers’ accounts were credited with loans they did not ask for, and with interest rates way above what is allowed under the law.

In one such case, $2,000 was transferred to a domestic worker’s bank account, followed by an advice that the debt would rise to $4,800 after 14 days, for an effective interest rate of 140 percent.

When the helpers refused to pay the loans - which ranged from a few thousand dollars to $100,000, -their employers were told that AI-generated pornographic photos of them would be published unless they paid up. In some cases, the employers’ offices were splashed with red paint.

Red paint was splashed on the door of an employer's workplace

Leung said the party has assisted the employers in calling the police.

He called on the government to impose a cap on how much FDHs are allowed to borrow and require debt collectors to apply for a licence, to prevent these cases from recurring.

"If this kind of situation worsens in Hong Kong, I believe that it will force the government to take further steps to set up certain laws to contain this kind of illegal debt collecting," said Leung.

Leung says debt collectors must be licensed, and govt should limit FDH loans

The news comes just days after the Philippine Consulate General warned Filipino domestic workers not to disclose any personal details or share photos of their employers, their houses, and even their cars.

The PCG hinted that some FDHs had shared with the online money lenders not only the personal details of their employers, but also photos. The helpers were also sent a video in which they acknowledged taking out a loan from the company.

The PCG has advised the victims in these cases to take a screenshot of their transactions with the illegal money lenders and report them to the nearest police station – or seek advice and assistance from the Consulate or the Migrant Workers’ Office.

Filcom celebrates 126th Philippine Independence Day today in Central

Posted on 09 June 2024 No comments

 

All roads lead to Central today, Jun 9, as the Filipino community celebrates the 126th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day with a whole-day event on Chater Road.

The traditional celebration titled “Kapangyawan Friendship Festival” and organized by the Philippine Consulate General, also focuses on promoting closer ties with Hong Kong and its people.

As before, the festivity will feature a cultural parade led by officers of the Consulate, line dances and street performances..

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In the afternoon, this year’s special guests including “Bolanteros Kulturistas” as well as the celebrity trio “Beks Batallion” will delight the crowds.

In line with tradition, the Chater Road celebration follows the Philippine Association of Hong Kong’s Independence Day Ball, which was held this year at Ritz Carlton Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and titled “Hiraya.”

About 300 people from different sectors joined the charity event organized by the Board of Directors of the 63-year-old organization, led by chairperson Scylla Kwong.

18.

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Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan  was the evening’s guest of honor.

The gala event raised money for four beneficiaries: the Bayanihan Trust, Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, Wimler Foundation and FullPhils. 

Labour briefing to include anti-money laundering push

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For the first time, a briefing by the Hong Kong Labour Department on employment rights of foreign domestic helpers will include how one can avoid getting entangled in money laundering.

The free briefing for the Filipino group of participants will be held on Jun 23, Sunday, 2:30pm to 4:15 pm, at 16/F, One Mong Kok Road Commercial Centre, Mong Kok Road, Kowloon..

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The extra topic reflects the growing number of  FDHs being lured into surrendering control over their bank accounts by scam syndicates who then use them to launder proceeds from crimes.

Often, the FDH is given only a small payment in exchange for turning over their ATM cards to criminals, not realizing that this simple act would land them in jail.

How to? is explained here

In one of the latest cases, a Filipina DH was denied bail after she was charged with laundering a total of $2.3 million which passed through her account with an online bank in just 10 days.

Under Hong Kong laws, a person who deals with property knowing, or have reasonable grounds to believe, to be proceeds from an indictable offence, can be jailed for up to 14 years and fined a maximum of $5 million.

In a statement, the Consulate expressed support for the Labour Department’s effort to disseminate information “to better capacitate Filipino workers in defending their labor rights, and to prevent instances where they are made victims of money laundering syndicates.”

TAWAG NA!

Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan recently expressed concern about the money laundering cases involving Filipino DHs, after gracing a briefing on the topic by the Hong Kong Police.

Those who would like to join the labour briefing may email the completed enrolment form at f-d-h@enquiry@labour.gov.ph or by fax at 3101 0604. Make sure you email your name, contact number and the word “Group A” to fdh-enquiry@labour.gov.ph

Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for submitting the enrolment form is on June 21, Friday. Confirmed participants will be notified through email or fax.

 

 

 

Filipina overstayer jailed 14 weeks for taking up job in Central

Posted on 08 June 2024 No comments
Quirante was among 18 people arrested for illegal work over 4 days last week

A Filipina former domestic worker who was arrested on June 4 while doing an “odd job” in Central was sentenced to a total of 14 weeks at Shatin court on Thursday after she pleaded guilty to overstaying and illegal work.

Kareen Millan Quirante, 36 years old, was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail for overstaying her visa by more than three years. She was supposed to remain in Hong Kong only until Mar 8, 2021, but did not leave.

She was ordered jailed for 14 weeks for breaching her visa condition by working illegally, with the two sentences to run concurrently, resulting in a total of 14 weeks in prison.

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Quirante admitted violating the Immigration Ordinance which prohibited her from taking up work, whether paid or unpaid, after overstaying.

She was among 20 persons arrested by Immigration and police agents in four days of anti-illegal work raids from June 3 to 6, and reported yesterday, June 7.

The suspects included 18 illegal workers and two employers.

The suspected illegal workers comprised 11 men and seven women, aged 29 to 51.  Five of them, three men and two women, held recognizance forms which prohibited them from taking up work. Another woman was found in possession of a fake HKID card.

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The alleged employers were both males, aged 24 and 27.

Both overstaying and illegal work are considered serious offences that often result in the offender being put behind bars.

The maximum penalty for overstaying is two years in jail, and a fine of up to $50,000. The prescribed maximum jail term goes up to three years if the one caught doing illegal work was an overstayer, illegal immigrant or non-refoulement claimants.

Employers of illegal workers and those who possess fake HKID cards can be jailed for up to 10 years. In addition, employers can be fined a maximum of $500,000.

Filipino charged with raping family’s DH granted bail

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The neighborhood in Mui Wo where the rape was allegedly committed (Google Maps photo)

A Filipino charged with the rape of his family’s domestic helper, was granted bail on his third request at Shatin Court on Friday (June 7), after his lawyer brought up new developments that could affect the case.

Alden John Apayat, 41 years old, is accused of raping the woman identified only as X, last April 10 at their house on Mui Wo Rural Committee Road, Mui Wo, Lantau Island.

Apayat, who had unsuccessfully applied for bail in the two previous hearings, was charged under Section 118(1) of the Crimes Ordinance which prescribes a maximum penalty of life in prison for rape.

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Magistrate David Chum granted the appeal of Apayat’s lawyer to set him free temporarily because he has moved out of the family house, is divorcing his wife, and is now living with his girlfriend.

Magistrate Chum set a cash bail of $50,000 and surety of $15,000 on the condition that he will surrender his Philippine passport, and will not contact any of the prosecution witnesses and the victim.

He also required him to live in the address given to the court, notify the police at least 24 hours before moving to another address, and report every Sunday to the Mui Wo Police.

TAWAG NA!

Magistrate Chum also called the person who provided the security -- Apayat’s girlfriend -- and made it clear to her that she was required to ensure that he would attend all hearings, that she would accompany him to all hearings, and she would report to police if there is any indication he would not show up in court.

If any of these terms are violated, he told her, the bail will be canceled and Apayat will be returned to jail.

The next hearing is scheduled for August 12.

6 weeks’s jail for DH caught selling liquor without license

Posted on 07 June 2024 No comments

 

Li Yuen Street West, known to Filipinas as 'alley-alley' (Google Maps photo)

A Filipina will spend a total of six weeks in jail for possessing and selling liquor, and doing that while holding a domestic helper’s visa.

Joyce Agcanas, 30 years old, pleaded guilty today at the Eastern Court to three charges, for which Principal Magistrate Ivy Chui meted her the following penalties: 

·       For selling liquor without a license, which is contrary to the Dutiable Conmodities Ordinance, Agcanas was sentenced to two days’ imprisonment.

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·       * For possession of liquor without a license, which is also contrary to the Dutiable Conmodities Ordinance, she was sentenced to four weeks imprisonment.

·      For breach of conditionn of stay, for selling liquor while employed as a domestic helper, Agcanas was sentenced to six weeks in jail.

Magistrate Chui ordered the sentences to run at the same time, so the total sentence is six weeks in jail.

TAWAG NA!

Agcanas was arrested selling liquor on Oct. 21 last year on the third floor of 15 Li Yuen Street West in Central, known to Filipinos as "alley-alley."

During investigation at the police station, officers discovered that she was a domestic helper, whose condition of stay as approved by the Immigration Department, prohibits her from doing any other work. 

Filipina DH charged with laundering $2.3m

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The Filipina appeared in Tuen Mun court to face the money laundering charge

A Filipina domestic helper appeared in Tuen Mun court yesterday, charged with handling illicit money totaling nearly $2.3 million that passed through her MOX bank account within only 10 days in March this year.

No plea was taken from Maureen Joy L. Romero, 41, and she was remanded in jail until her next court appearance on Jul 24.

According to the charge, Romero dealt with the sum of $2,296,076 which passed through her  account with MOX Bank Limited, numbered 74966154325, between Mar 14 and 24 this year, despite “knowing or having reasonable ground to believe,” that the property “in whole or in part, directly or indirectly represented the proceeds of an indictable offense.”

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Meanwhile a Filipino resident again appeared in District Court on a charge of laundering the equivalent of HK$5.5 million in his Bank of China account betweem Aug 5 and Oct 21, 2020.

Jose Rizaldo Ledesma, who is said to be also known by the names Jose Rizaldo Raymundo Ledesma and Tose Rizhido R. Leoesma, 57, is accused of having laundered a total sum of 5,500 Euros and USD706,468.21 in his Bank of China account between Aug 5, 2020 and Oct 21, 2020.

He is charged alongside Wong Chiu-sang, 51, who faces a separate count of laundering the equivalent of more than HK$7.30 million through his Standard Chartered Bank account.

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Wong’s account is said to have been used to launder a total of HK$1,705,319.28 and USD719,851.25 between Aug 13, 2020 and October 31, 2020.

The case against Ledesma has been adjourned to July 7 for mention, and his bail of $400 was extended until then.

Wong, who is out on $4,000 bail, will appear in court again on Mar 31, 2025 for plea.

Money laundering is a crime under sections 25(1) and 25 (3) of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance , Cap. 455.

The maximum penalty for anyone found to have committed the offence is 14 years’ imprisonment and $5 million in fines.

In a long line of cases that have been dealt with in Hong Kong’s criminal courts, the offence has always been punished with imprisonment, even if the accused has admitted the charge.

In one of the latest cases, a Filipina DH was sentenced to two months in jail after she pleaded guilty to laundering just over $20,000 through her bank account.

DMW warns against fake OECs sold online

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DMW's advisory against fake OECs

The Department of Migrant Workers has warned anew against fake overseas employment certificates that are offered for sale on social media.

The warning followed the detection recently of fake Balik Manggagawa OECs which two Filipinos bound for abroad had presented at the airport.

The first case involved a Filipina who presented a fake OEC she bought over WhatsApp and which she tried to present prior to her departure for Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 24.

Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said the 29-year-old woman was a former OFW who claimed she was redeployed to the UAE, but admitted buying the fake OEC for P7,200, for which she paid through GCash.

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The other case involved another Filipina who said she bought her counterfeit OEC through a Facebook group named “ZEL OEC Appointment”, and paid P500 for it through GCash.

Last year, the same warning was issued by Immigration after three Filipinos bound for Warsaw, Poland were stopped at Ninoy Aquino International Airport were also found to be carrying fake OECs, for which each paid a total of P77,000.

The three, one female and two males in their 30s, told investigators that they were recruited online and mainly conversed with their recruiter via messenger. Each paid around P70,000 in processing fees, and were charged an additional P7,000 for the alleged fast-tracking of their OECs, which were sent to them via email.

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Earlier, immigration officers at Clark International Airport also intercepted a Filipino male who presented a fake OEC as she tried to depart for Dubai aboard Emirates Airlines, saying he was returning to his job as personnel manager of a service provider.

Initially he claimed to have secured the OEC through legitimate means, but eventually admitted that he got it online, after paying P7,000.

All OFWs are advised to ensure that they are getting their OECs through legitimate channels by visiting the DMW website: https://dmw.gov.ph/onlineservices.

For Balik-Manggagawa (BM) or OFWs returning to the same employer, the following documents must be presented: (1)   Valid visa or work permit, or similar document and (2)   Employment contract with current employer or any other document to prove current employment such as a valid company ID or recent payslip.

All returning OFWs are advised to secure their OECs themselves before going home for a vacation as it is an easy process, and should ensure a worry-free travel back to their workplace.  

The DMW likewise advised all outbound workers that transactions to secure forged OECs, especially online, is illegal, and they can be charged under the “Acts that Promote Trafficking in Persons” law, for which the maximum penalty is 20 years in jail and fine of up to P2 million.

For any queries, send a message to the Facebook pages, DMW Anti-Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons Program, or Department of Migrant Workers.


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