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Bangar inducts new officers

Posted on 10 February 2024 No comments
Bangar Association HK officers pose with their certificates.

Bangar Association of Hong Kong inducted its officers last Feb 4 at the Consulate, with Consul General Germinia V. Aguilar-Usudan as inducting officer.

Founded in 1999, the group has been headed by Marites Nuval as president for the past several years.

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One its first projects for the year is participation in the China (Glass Bridge) in the group tour organized by Global Alliance HK.It will be held on March 3.

The other officers who were inducted were: 

Vice President: Francisca Mantilla 

Secretary: Jeanefer Benavidez 

Asst. Secretary: Marilag Failano 

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\Treasurer: Verginia M. Noto 

Asst. Treasurer: Arlene Gazmen 

Auditor: Jenalene Lizardo 

Asst. Auditor: Angelita Paragas 

PRO: Sandramae Nelmida 

Asst. PRO : Maylene Guillen 

TAWAG NA!

Business Manager: Myrna Monis 

Coordinators: ABCQM: Mylene Ambatan AGNAPARCEN: Nelly Fernandez PRIBA: Gina Lopez Carbonel RUSL : Remedios Jimenez SINAPRIS : Marites Cuevas TCMC: Loida Lozano 

Head of Livelihood: Maribel Madrid Redulfin 

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Choreographer: Lolita D.Lopez 

Advisers: Emerenciana M.Agas and Lisa Foronda

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Filipina in drug trafficking case with 3 Indians

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Almost a kilo of herbal cannabis was found with the suspects (File)

A Filipina was left in jail custody, along with an Indian co-accused, while two other Indians were able to post bail in a drug trafficking case heard at Shatin Court.

Vanessa Poblacion, 33 years old and unemployed, was charged with trafficking in a dangerous drug, along with three Indians – Karnesh Bawa, 32, Aftab Alam, 31, and Kalimuddin Mohammed, 48, in a hearing on Wednesday (Feb. 7).

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Poblacion was charged with Bawa, a merchant, with drug trafficking after they were arrested on May 30 last year inside the Rambler Oasis Hotel in Tsing Yi, New Territories.

Seized from them were 38 packs of herbal cannabis weighing 813.48 grams in total, 62 sticks of cannabis resin weighing 83.48 grams in total, 30 bags of cannabis candies, 34 cannabis vape cartridges, 350 pills of methylenedioxy methamphetamine, four packs of methylenedioxy methamphetamine weighing 22.9 grams in total, 650 pieces of N-methoxybenzyl (“drug stamp”), and five packs of Ketamine weighing 113.58 grams in total.

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Bawa was also charged with the two other Indians, who were bogth unemployed, with drug trafficking after they were arrested on the same day in a car on Tsung Kwai Highway in Tsing Yi.

Seized from the three were six packs of herbal cannabis weighing 3.3 kilos and one metal container which contained herbal cannabis weighing 33 grams.

TAWAG NA!

In addition, Bawa was also charged for three offenses.

After he was arrested, police found in his possession an apparatus usually used in inhaling “ice” (or shabu), in violation of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

Bawa was also caught driving a car that was not registered and licensed, in violation of the Road Traffic Ordinance.

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Since the same car was not insured, he was also charged with violating the Motor Vehicle insurance (Third Party Risks) Ordinance.

While Bawa was able to post bail of $60,000 in cash and $30,000 in surety and Alam was set free on a cash bail of $100,000, Mohammed and Poblacion were remanded in jail custody by Acting Principal Magistrate Amy Chan.

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Mabatid is on Immigration’s watchlist, summoned to Senate hearing

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Mabatid's poster for her Feb 19, 2023 recruitment seminar for HK OFWs

Former Cebu City Councillor Prisca Nina Mabatid who is facing complaints of illegal recruitment and/or human trafficking from hundreds of Filipinos whom she promised student visas to Canada, including about 20 in Hong Kong, is now included in the Philippine Immigration’s watchlist.

All the complainants against Mabatid claimed that after collecting between P100,000 and P139,999 each from them, she and her staff failed to deliver their promise, and worse, threatened them with a lawsuit for demanding their money back.

Mabatid’s inclusion in the watchlist was revealed during the Senate committee hearing on massive illegal recruitment of Filipinos held on Feb. 7, with Senators Raffy Tulfo and Risa Hontiveros leading the inquiry.

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According to an NBI staff, five people, all facing complaints of massive recruitment or deception carried out on Filipinos, are on the watchlist.

Two were a couple, Yexel Sebastian and Mikee Agustin, who fled to Nagoya, Japan after carrying out a multi-million peso investment scam, and two others were Kyzelle Respicio and Frederick Dutaro who managed to fly out to Saudi Arabia after allegedly offering non-existent jobs in Italy to hundreds of Filipinos who each paid hundreds of thousands of pesos.

The fifth was said to be Mabatid, who is now the only one still in the Philippines, having monitored arriving from United Arab Emirates on Jan. 26 this year, when she was apparently told that she was on the watchlist.

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Hearing about this, Senator Hontiveros asked the committee to summon Mabatid to the follow-up hearing on Feb. 13.

Mabatid was online for the Feb. 7 session but did not turn on her camera during the three-hour hearing.

The session was spent listening to complaints against a casino investment scam and the recruitment of about 260 Filipinos to non-existent jobs in Italy, for which Consul General to Milan Elmer Cato was among those questioned.

TAWAG NA!

Physically present was Vicky Casia-Cabantac, vice chairperson of Migrante International, along with some of the complainants against Mabatid in the Philippines that her group has been helping.

Cabantac said that after the session, an NBI agent approached her group and said that the case has already been forwarded to the Department of Justice for the filing of charges.

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On standby online to also give statements were Dolores Balladares, Migrante Hong Kong chair, case officer Ester Bangcawayan of the Mission for Migrant Workers, OFW applicant Cherryl Manuel and The SUN editor Daisy CL Mandap.

They were told to attend the next session again when the cases against Mabatid will be heard, and she will be given a chance to air her side.

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$85M up for grabs in Lunar New Year Snowball

Posted on 09 February 2024 No comments

 

Punsters would be lining up again at this 'winningest' betting station on Stanley Street, Central

Up to $85 million can be won by people who hit the jackpot in the Mark Six Lunar New Year lottery which will be drawn next Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The tickets for the snowball were sold starting last night, after the regular Mark Six draw where a single ticket won the top prize of $34,474,930. The winning numbers were 5,7,9,20,22 and 25, with 13 as the extra number. 

To allow more time for people to buy tickets for the snowball, the regular draw scheduled for this Saturday will not be held  

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Punsters who want to know what number combinations they should choose to increase their chances of winning may do well to check the statistics freely given by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

According to their data the number "29" has been picked the most, coming out 10 times in the 36 previous LNY snowball draws. This is followed by numbers "3" and "11", each being drawn nine times.

TAWAG NA!

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The numbers which were drawn eight times are "5", "19", "37", and "43".

Mark Six tickets for the Lunar New Year Snowball draw will be available at Off-Course Betting Branches, Telebet and Interactive Services, including Online Betting Service (eWin) and Mobile Betting Service. 

Tickets will be sold until 9.15 pm on February 14, the day of the draw.  

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3 Filipinos arrested for taking clothes they thought were discarded

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The Filipinos were arrested on Belleview Drive, on suspicion of theft (File)

With the approach of Chinese New Year, many households have been throwing things away to attract the good fortune new possessions are believed to bring.  But would-be fortune hunters should beware that not all things they see on the streets are lap sap, or rubbish.

This was a lesson three Filipinos – two females and one male aged 47 to 61, learned the hard way on Tuesday afternoon, after being arrested for taking clothing items from boxes left out on Belleview Drive, Repulse Bay.

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As no one was around to look after the boxes that were piled on some wooden pallets left on the roadside, a number of bystanders, mostly Filipinos, reportedly took away some of the clothes, then left.

It turned out the clothes which were still in plastic wrappers were new, and were left on the road temporarily by a 33-year-old delivery man prior to being transported elsewhere. When the man  saw a couple of people taking away items from his parcels and loading them onto cars he called the police.

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One male driver who got curious reportedly lifted one of the still-unopened boxes and placed it on top of the luggage compartment of his employer’s car, then took pictures. It was while he was doing this that police arrived, and arrested him.

Two Filipinas who were found with some clothes from the boxes were also arrested, but a bigger number of domestic workers living in the area who had reportedly left after taking some of the items, were able to get away.

TAWAG NA!

All three Filipinos who were arrested were taken to Aberdeen police station and held on suspicion of theft until Wednesday night, when they were allowed to post bail. No charges were filed but the three were ordered to report to the Western Police Station early next month.

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Aside from the theft complaint hanging over their heads the three are facing a bigger worry, as the owner of the looted items is reportedly asking them for reimbursement, even for the other items that were not found in their possession.

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Flu cases expected to rise as temperatures dip over holiday

Posted on 08 February 2024 No comments

 

Wear masks and take the flu shot, this is what doctors are saying amid the cold weather

Doctors are again advising people to wear masks and get vaccinated against the flu, as temperatures are forecast to plummet over the New Year holiday.

The Observatory says temperatures will fall progressively over the next few days, with the lowest of between 11 and 12 degrees being registered on both Lunar New Year’s Eve tomorrow and New Year’s Day on Saturday.

In a recent radio interview Dr David Hui of Chinese University in Hong Kong said that while the number of flu cases has dropped along with hospital admissions, there had been 27 cases of adults coming down with severe flu, and 20 of them died as a result.

He said only eight of the deceased had been vaccinated against the flu, so he urged everyone, including young children, to take the jab. He said there had been cases of young unvaccinated children developing complications like encephalitis after catching the flu.

Hui warned that the spread of flu is influenced by weather conditions, and the virus is known to be less active during warmer seasons, so people in Hong Kong should take extra care now that the city is again experiencing a cold snap.

“It’s related to the weather, the virus is less active when it’s warm,” Hui said on air. “In the coming Lunar New Year holiday, the number of infections may rebound anytime as the north winds arrive.”

He advised people to take precautions when going out, including wearing a mask, but they should also consider just staying at home if they want to feel safer.

Hui also said that the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong is relatively stable, although there are currently about 460 infected people receiving treatment in public hospitals. He also said there have been recorded cases of severe illness and death.

He added laboratory monitoring data showed an increase in the viral load within the community as the number of coronavirus cases rise, and warned of a simultaneous flu and Covid-19 cases peaking between January and March.

He urged the government to invest more in public health facilities and research to strengthen the city’s ability to fight pandemics.

 

Refund for public hospital patients who opt out of treatment to begin

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Public hospitals are expected to fill up because of the cold snap (File)

Starting tomorrow, people who decide to get out of long queues for treatment at public hospitals and had already paid, will be given their money back under a 10-day trial scheme.

"We are targeting those who go to accident and emergency departments unaware of the long waiting times," Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau said on Tuesday.

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He added the scheme is for people classified as non-urgent cases but still face a long wait to see a doctor. If they decide not to wait, they could get a refund of the $180 they had already paid.

Lo said the trial is meant to see whether offering a refund for people with minor ailments will help decongest the A&Es, especially over the long lunar new year holiday.

TAWAG NA!

Doctors specializing in geriatrics will be on hand at the casualty departments during the four-day holiday, with the number of elderly patients turning up because of the cold snap expected to rise.

Also because of this, 18 public clinics across the city will stay open over the holiday period, when temperatures are expected to dip to around 11 degrees.

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Up to 8,000 people are expected to be seen at the clinics during the four-day holiday.

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Court acquits DH of three assaults against employer’s husband, gets paid legal costs

Posted on 07 February 2024 No comments

 

Romalyn Marinay (in black) poses with Edwina Antonio
of Mission for Migrant Workers outside court

A domestic helper charged with three counts of common assault on her employer’s husband, was acquitted of all charges at Eastern Court today, with Magistrate Minnie Wat concluding that the prosecution “proved nothing”.

If there was any assault, Romalyn Marinay, 36 years old, was “acting in self defense,” Magistrate Wat concluded.

She noted that Marinay suffered harassment, insults and intimidation from Shek Yuet-hey because she was serving as a witness for his wife in a divorce case at that time. The couple have since divorced and he had to leave their Mid-Levels home.

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Romalyn’s defense lawyer, Timothy Lam, also claimed that her legal costs should be refunded by government because it pursued such an unnecessary case. “I do not think the defendant brought this upon herself,” he added.

Senior prosecutor Andrew Li resisted the suggestion, saying the defense did not disclose all the evidence early enough, leading the prosecution to believe they had a strong case. But Lam argued such gradual release of evidence is part of any defendant’s right to silence.

After a 20-minute break, Magistrate Wat granted Lam’s request, and left it to the prosecution and defense lawyers to negotiate the amount.

TAWAG NA!

In her verdict, Magistrate Lam described Shek as an unreliable witness.

In the first charge, he accused Marinay of hitting his hand and chest on Nov. 29, 2020 and presented a CCTV to prove it. Marinay testified that she merely pushed the hand he was using to take a video of her, so she could get help from his wife because he was preventing her from taking her day off.

Shek was intimidating her, invading her privacy and restricting her liberty “to a certain extent” and so “it is not unreasonable to do what she did,” Wat said.

For the second charge, Shek also presented a video he shot on March 17, 2021, showing the maids’ room door being closed, trapping his right hand and claiming it was injured. He accused Marinay of closing the door, and stepping on its hinge to keep it closed and trap his hand.

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But the magistrate noted that the same video shows Marinay sitting on the bed's upper bunk, with both her hands and legs not moving as the sliding door was closing, thus supporting her claim that her fellow helper, Myra S. Batino, was the one who closed it.

Wat also noted that as the door was closing, Shek shouted “ouch” while inserting his hand into the gap between door and frame. This amounts to consent to injury, she added. 

In the third incident, on July 21, 2021, a CCVT clip showed Shek reaching into the maids’ room with Marinay inside and then withdrawing while holding Marinay’s leg. He testified that she used her arms and legs to hit him.

Wat described this as absurd. The helper was sitting on the upper bunk bed.  When Shek pulled her leg, she would be using her hands to hold on so as not to fall down to the floor.

Reacting to the court's decision, Edwina Antonio of the Mission for Migrant Workers and Bethune House, emphasized the need for  domestic helpers to fight for their rights especially when being accused falsely.

Although Marinay received support from elsewhere, she said the Mission is ready to assist those going through these challenges.

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