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High Court rejects Filipino’s bid to review failed asylum claim

Posted on 21 June 2024 No comments


The High Court, where the Court of First Instance holds it proceedings 

A Filipino has failed to convince the High Court to review his asylum application -- based on his claim that he was being hunted by two men in the Philippines who happened to leave plastic bags containing drugs in the tricycle he was driving and which he turned over to the police. 

His initial application had been rejected by both the Immigration Department, and then by the Torture Claims Appeal Board (Board).

Bernard Sampayan’s application for leave to apply for judicial review was rejected by Deputy High Court Judge K.W. Lung, saying he raised “no valid reason to challenge the Board’s Decision,” so there is no reason “the Court should interfere with the Board’s finding of the facts.”

He had also asked to appear in a hearing at the Court of First Instance and it was scheduled for 24 April 2024. “However, he was absent without prior notice to the Court,” according to the decision issued this week by M.O. Wong for the Registrar of the High Court, on order of Judge Lung.

Sampayan, aged 61, arrived in Hong Kong as a visitor on Oct. 11, 2017 and has overstayed since Oct. 26, 2017. He surrendered to the Immigration Department on Nov. 9, 2017 and made a non-refoulement claim on the same day.

He claimed that he would be harmed or killed by the two Filipinos who left the plastic bags containing drugs in his tricycle in Manila on Sept. 9, 2017 after they noticed a police car was following them, and he was then framed by the police to whom he turned over the drugs, of being involved in drug dealings.

The claim was first rejected by the Immigration Department because it failed to meet the requirements for granting asylum: that he faced the risk of torture, death, inhuman treatment and persecution as defined by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and the 1951 international convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

When he appealed the decision to the Board, it conducted a hearing on March 7, 2019 and found that in addition to not satisfying the basic requirements, his claim was also based on lies.

“Having considered the applicant’s evidence, the Board was not satisfied that his claims were truthful. There were significant inconsistencies in his evidence,” the CFI decision said.  

“The Board found that the applicant was never physically injured or threatened with death by the passengers. They were also satisfied that the police did not make allegations against the applicant for any drug related offences,” it added.


In his appeal for judicial review, Sampayan claimed that the Board did not “conduct sufficient inquiry” into his case and “take into account psychological strain and threats to him personally or threats to him of being killed,” the decision noted.

But it dismissed these claims because “they are his bare and general assertions without any evidence in support.”

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8 centres set up to help handle JoyYou card applications

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From August 25, elderly residents may only use the JoyYou card to enjoy the $2 subsidized fare

The government has set up eight temporary application service centers to help Hong Kong residents aged 60 and above to secure JoyYou cards so that they can continue enjoying the $2 public transportation fare concession for the elderly.

The service centers that will be set up on Hong Kong island, in Kowloon and the New  Territories will begin operating from next Monday, June 24.

From August 25 this year, all Hong Kong residents aged 60 and above can continue enjoying the $2 subsidized fare if they use the JoyYou card. Existing anonymous elder Octopus and ordinary personalized Octopus will no longer be applicable.


However, all eligible persons with disabilities can continue using their personalized Octopus cards encoded with “Persons with Disabilities Status” to enjoy the $2 discounted fare. They need not apply for a JoyYou card.

This means that non-residents will no longer be able to use the green anonymous elder Octopus to qualify for the $2 fare.

The eight temporary JoyYou application service centers will be in operation from Monday until August 31. They will be located at the following addresses:

Conference Room, 2/F, Kennedy Town Community Complex (12 Rock Hill Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong);

Conference Room, G/F, Leighton Hill Community Hall (133 Wong Nai Chung Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong);

Room 210, 2/F, Wong Tai Sin Community Centre (104 Ching Tak Street, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon);

Conference Room, Mong Kok Community Hall, L2, Mong Kok Complex (557 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon);

Conference Room, G/F, Tai Yuen Community Hall (Tai Yuen Estate, Tai Po, New Territories);

Conference Room, 4/F, North District Community Centre (2 Lung Wan Street, Sheung Shui, New Territories);

Activity Room, G/F, Kwai Fong Community Hall (2 Lai Fong Street, Kwai Chung, New Territories); and

Conference Room, G/F, Long Ping Community Hall (Long Ping Estate, Yuen Long, New Territories).


The centers will open from 9am to 8pm from Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. They will be closed on Sundays and public holidays.

JoyYou applicants are advised to visit the center nearest them as soon as possible.

All eligible applicants should receive their JoyYou cards within four weeks after completing an application form. If no card is sent to them within this prescribed period they may call the hotline  at 3147 1388 (press 0 after choosing the language to contact operators directly).

Applicants who submitted incomplete application forms will be issued with SMS or a letter informing them to submit the additional information as soon as possible.

Alternatively, eligible residents may apply for the JoyYou card by post or via the Octopus App to OCL. They may visit the JoyYou webpage:  for videos illustrating steps for making an application, and the distribution points for paper application forms (with a postage-free return envelope).

 A JoyYou Card carries the photo and name of the beneficiary of the $2 scheme. Each eligible person is entitled to just one card.

The JoyYou cards were issued to residents aged 60 and above in batches from June 1, 2020. To date, some 1.3 million people, or around 92 percent of estimated eligible applicants, have been issued with JoyYou cards.

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Govt eyes reward scheme for blood donors

Posted on 20 June 2024 No comments
Secretary Lo says it's ok to give blood as he revealed HK needs 650 units of blood daily (File)

Hong Kong ‘s Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau has revealed a plan to get more people to donate blood by introducing a reward scheme for donors.

Lo made the disclosure in a question-and-answer at the Legislative Council yesterday, June 19, during which he was asked by legislator Peter Douglas Koon on the Department of Health’s plan to meet the need to collect 650 units of blood daily to provide to hospitals across the city.

He said that the reward scheme to be launched by the Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) will see blood donors earning points by donating blood and redeem them for various rewards through its mobile application, “HK Blood.”

“At the same time, the BTS also plans to collaborate with various enterprises and organisations through the reward platform, so as to join hands with different sectors of the community to promote blood donation,” he said.

He was responding to Koon’s query on whether the Department was considering following the practices of other countries t of collaborating with organizations, to offer non-cash, but material rewards to blood donors such as supermarket coupons for buying daily necessities.

Koon also suggested Hong Kong follow the practice of some countries, like Australia and Italy, of allowing employees time off work if they donate blood.

Another suggestion was for the Department to consider sending alerts through SMS to donors to donate again, or encourage deferred donors to do so already.

Finally, he suggested adjusting the operating hours of donor centers or set up a center in each of the 18 districts across the territory to make it more convenient for would-be donors, especially those who need to go to work, to give blood.

Members of Iglesia ni Cristo were among the latest Filipino groups to heed the call to donate blood

Lo replied that since there is no substitute for blood and the shelf life of blood is limited, “it is of particular importance for citizens to donate blood voluntarily and benevolently on a regular basis, so that a timely supply of blood of assured safety and quality can be secured for patients in need of rescue.”

In line with this, he said the BTS used to give a range of medals and certificates to blood donors. During special occasions like Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, the BTS also used to present souvenirs to donors as a token of appreciation, and encourage others to also donate.

In recent years, the BTS is said to have designed a variety of “practical souvenirs” to encourage more donations, and in future, will adopt a points system in awarding rewards with help from various enterprises and organizations.


At present, some of these private enterprises have been arranging to get their staff to donate blood when mobile blood donation vehicles visit their place, or they organize group donation by visiting the donor centers as a kind of staff team building activity.

A number of such enterprises have also introduced half-day paid leave for staff who sign up for blood donation.

Starting October 2023, the BTS has also started a "BloodTHX" SMS to thank donors  and notifiy them when the donated blood has reached hospitals for use by patients, for them to better appreciate  the significance of their charitable work.  Eligible donors are also invited to donate blood again, so as to stabilise the supply at the blood bank.

Lo said that the BTS has been developing more communication channels with the public, such as the setting up of the "Blood for Life" WhatsApp channel in December 2023 to provide the latest donation information and maintain communication with the public, in particular the younger generation.

All the blood donor centers under the BTS are open until 7pm everyday, and mobile blood donation teams are dispatched regularly to the 18 districts in the city to facilitate blood donation from government departments and various enterprises.

Since 2021, the BTS has set up a blood donation centrer at Immigration Tower in Wan Chai while a new one will be set up at the new immigration complex in  Tseung Kwan O.

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Filipina’s fear of husband killing her not enough ground for asylum, court says

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The High Court, where Court of Appeal holds hearings

A Filipina who sought asylum because she was afraid her husband would kill her for having had two children with a Nepalese while in Hong Kong, has failed to get the Court of Appeal to reverse a ruling rejecting her claim for protection from forcible repatriation.

Jonalyn Lorenzo, a domestic helper who overstayed after her contract was terminated, claimed non-refoulement on July 31, 2017, but this was dismissed by the Immigration Department on Nov. 8, 2017 because it did not meet applicable grounds, including risk of torture and persecution.

She appealed the decision to the Torture Claims Appeal Board. When the Board dismissed her appeal, she went to the Court of First Instance which denied her leave to apply for judicial review, resulting in her bringing the case to the appellate court.


In their decision issued this week, Justices of Appeal Thomas Au and Anderson Chow said: “The court will not intervene by way of judicial review unless there are errors of law or procedural unfairness or irrationality in the decision of the Board.”

They asserted that  Lorenzo fails "to identify or show with specific particulars any error in the Judge’s decision refusing to grant leave to apply for judicial review, or raise any viable ground of appeal against the Leave Decision."  

They also cited the Board’s findings that Lorenzo became an overstayer on Oct. 23 2011 and claimed to have been threatened by her husband since 2012.  However, she chose not to seek protection until 2017, indicating “that her claimed fear for her safety was not genuinely held.”

They added: “The Board found in all these years the husband had done nothing to the Applicant or her mother in the Philippines. It found his threats were merely empty threats which the husband had no intention to execute.  The risk of harm posed by the husband was low.”

They concluded: ”General assertions of her fear if refouled do not constitute proper grounds of appeal.”

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Labour Sec tells FDHs, you're welcome to HK but avoid violating laws

Posted on 19 June 2024 No comments
Sun says FDHs must consult their consulates and check Labour's website for reliable information

Hong Kong Labor Secretary Chris Sun has called on foreign domestic helpers to avoid falling foul with the law, amid the spike in the number of helpers being arrested for money laundering – often because they created, lent or sold their bank accounts to scammers.

Sun made his comments on the sidelines of a diplomatic reception held at the Conrad in Admiralty on June 12 to mark the 126th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence.

Responding to a question from The SUN on whether he had a  message for FDHs on how they can avoid getting entangled in scams and money laundering, Sun said: “Take care of yourselves, you are welcome in Hong Kong (but) make sure you are doing things in accordance with the law.”


He advised: “If someone comes to you and offers you a small sum of money to open a bank account for them, and you suspect that they will do something illegal, make sure not to accept the money.”

Sun added that for newcomers, they must get all the information they need about living and working in Hong Kong from their respective consulates general, or from the website of the Labour Department.

Sun joins Philippine Consul General Germinia Usudan, HK Finance Secretary Paul Chan
and Senator Peter Cayetano in a toast to Philippine Independence Day

Signaling the urgent need to get migrant workers understand the gravity of being arrested and prosecuted for money laundering, Labour scheduled a briefing next month, where FDHs will get to hear not just their rights and obligations under the law, but also how they can avoid getting scammed.

“As always, at the Labour Department… if there is something that merits our attention we make sure that we will provide the relevant information,” said Sun.

He added that if necessary, Labour will hold more briefings on the subject.  “I think the key is, as usual, let’s get together and talk more to each other, (to) make sure that all domestic workers in Hong Kong know what they should, and should not do.”

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If you still hold old HKID card, you have one year to replace it

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The new HK Identity Card

If you have not yet changed your old Hong Kong ID card -- the one issued before November 26, 2018 -- you have at least a year before it becomes invalid under a two-phase schedule announced by the government.

The Immigration Department’s advice to avoid the consequences – such as being prosecuted and made to pay a fine of $5,000 -- is to apply for the new Hong Kong Identity Card (HKIC) before your old HKID becomes invalid.

Phase I of the invalidation exercise will cover holders of old ID cards born in 1970 or after, whose old cards will become invalid on May 12, 2025. 

Phase II of the invalidation exercise will cover holders of old ID cards born in 1969 or before, whose old cards will become invalid on October 12, 2025.


Ther schedule is set under the Registration of Persons (Invalidation of Identity Cards) Order 2024 (Invalidation Order) announced by Immigration yesterday (June 18). It will take effect after it is published in the Gazette on June 21, and tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting on June 26.

The Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise ended on March 3 last year, but four Registration of Persons offices in Hong Kong, Kowloon, Tseung Kwan O and Tuen Mun are open to issue the new IDs.

“Residents still holding old ID cards should make appointments for replacement as soon as possible,” Immigration said. To book, visit the website ( or call the 24-hour telephone booking hotline 2598 0888

“For those who are unable to have their ID cards replaced during the specified call-up periods due to being absent from Hong Kong, they should replace their ID cards within 30 days of their return to Hong Kong,” it added.

The invalidation of old ID cards will not affect the right of abode in Hong Kong of the holders of old ID cards unless he or she has lost permanent resident status under the Immigration Ordinance, it explained.

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Verdict set for money laundering case against 3 Filipinas

Posted on 18 June 2024 No comments
The defendants' bank accounts were used to launder money from a love scam

The trial of three Filipinas who are co-accused with a local woman in a money laundering case, has concluded at Eastern Court, with the magistrate setting the date for her verdict.

Magistrate Minnie Wat scheduled the reading of her decision for July 17 on the complaint filed by police against them for dealing in property known or believed to be proceeds of indictable offense, which is punishable under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance.

In the meantime, Magistrate Wat set the four defendants free on bail -- $2,000 in cash for restaurant worker Wong Siu-kuen, 53 years old, and $1,000 each for Filipina domestic workers Marife Dionson, 43, Geraldine Tolentino, 38, and Ires Calinawagan, 40.


Wong is accused of letting her Hang Seng Bank account be the depository for $776,460 between June 15 and Aug. 20, 2020.

Dionson is accused of allowing her HSBC account be used to launder proceeds of a crime, when a total of $358,300 passed through it between 8th and 9th of july 2020.

Tolentino is charged with allowing her HSBC account to host $566,438 in crime earnings between 15th and 20th of July 2020.

The case against Calinawagan was that between 10th and 23rd of july 2020, a total of $714,406 passed through her HSBC account. 

According to the prosecution, the money that went to the defendants' bank accounts had come from a total of $1,850,265 that a local woman working as a secretary lost to a man named "Zhang" who became her online boyfriend for five months in 2020.

The victim surnamed Wong, told the court she transferred some $1.6 million from her Bank of China accounts to various accounts of unknown people after someone claiming to be from a courier company told her she needed to pay some fees for a package sent to her by Zhang.

Later, she was also charged for "interest payments" as the package supposedly contained a large amount of cash.

Wong is on bail for $2,000 while her three co-defendants were each made to post $1,000 bail.

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Filipina charged with using invalid work contract to get loan returned to jail

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Eastern Court 

A Filipina accused of obtaining a $20,000 loan using an invalid employment contract, has been returned to jail custody yesterday after failing in her bid to apply for bail at Eastern Court.

Mariel Antenor, aged 32 years, is accused of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, which violates the Theft Ordinance.

Principal Magistrate Don So set the next hearing on July 17.


The case arose after Antenor allegedly presented an invalid work contract to Prime Credit’s office at Eurotrade Center Bldg. in Central on Sept. 14, 2022, to meet one of the requirements for a loan.

As a result, the $20,000 loan was approved; the financing company said it later found out that the work contract was no longer valid when Antenor applied for the loan.

The prosecution said the defendant was arrested when she went to the Immigration Department to renew her employment contract which was set to apply on April 27 this year. This suggested she had used an old contract to obtain the loan.

The defence lawyer said Antenor did not know that it was an offence to use an expired work contract to apply for a loan. Apart from this, she had already repaid much of what she borrowed.

The alleged act is contrary to sec 18 of the Theft Ordinance, and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

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Not true that Immigration rejects visa applications of FDH with unpaid loans, says PCG

Posted on 17 June 2024 No comments


Only trust the Immigration Department's official website and press releases, says PCG

The Philippine Consulate has advised the public to disregard a fake notice supposedly issued by the Immigration Department that foreign domestic helpers with unpaid loans will no longer be issued visas.

“Please be informed that the Consulate already coordinated with HK ImmD on this matter and has confirmed the notice to be fake,” said the advisory.

“The Consulate wishes to remind the public that any new immigration rule from HK ImmD can only be found at their official website at and are disseminated through official press releases.”

The notice which started circulating last month was riddled with grammatical mistakes that it looked immediately suspicious, but was nevertheless shared extensively by Filipinos on Facebook.


It said, “If any maid has borrowed loans or banks and never repay debts, Immigration will not approve visa. Maid must then return home within 7 days, and never allowed to work in HK again.”

The supposed notice came with an Indonesian translation.

Despite the obvious flaws in the notice, a number of Filipinos thought it was genuine. One even raised the suspicion that Immigration officers were in cahoots with debt collectors.

This was because someone who claimed to be working in an employment agency said it happened to one of their clients, a Filipina who finished her contract last April. The said client was supposedly told by an Immigration officer on the 3rd floor of the Immigration Tower in Wanchai that she had to pay her $8,000 loan first before her new visa would be released.

When interviewed the Filipina reportedly admitted failing to repay her $8,000 loan for the previous three months.

“The immigration give her instructions to pay the loan and bring the receipts proof that she paid it, and that is what she did, she paid her loan and get back to Immigration and they release her visa. I think it’s depends on finance company (sic),” the supposed agency staff said.

But while it dismissed the fake notice,  the Consulate advised everyone to borrow money responsibly and to only deal with licensed money lending companies.

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Overseas voters with incomplete biometrics must complete registration before 9/30

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PCG says complete registration must be done before Sept 30

The Philippine Consulate has advised that some Filipinos who had registered as overseas voters have incomplete biometrics – meaning, their photos or fingerprints are missing – so they should immediately proceed to the Consulate’s Overseas Voting Section to complete the process.

To check if you are among those with incomplete biometrics, please click the link below:


With the transition to online voting for the 2025 national and local elections, only overseas Filipinos with complete biometrics will be allowed to vote.

Thus, those who have previously registered as overseas voter must check the list and above and complete their deficiencies before the ongoing registration ends on Sept. 30 this year.

Those whose names are on the list may (1) complete the google form in the website; (2) send an email to the Consulate’s Overseas Voting section, or (3) inquire personally at the OV Section of the Consulate at 14/F, United Centre Building, Admiralty or at the Migrant Workers Office on the 29th floor of the same building.

'Bayle sa Kalye’: showcase of the Philippines’ rich and vibrant culture

Posted on 16 June 2024 No comments

The country's incomparable mangoes take centerstage in this colorful dance number

 It may have lasted an hour and a half, but those who watched the colorful and vibrant dancing by various groups of overseas Filipino workers at the “Bayle sa Kalye” segment of the Kapangyawan Festival on June 9 hardly felt the passing of time.

As before, OFW-driver Lee Ann E. Mas did not disappoint with her on-point choreography, conceptualization and direction of the segment that featured the country’s various native dances performed at a fast but fun pace.


The near-flawless performance of OFWs belonging to FLAG (Federation of Luzon Active Groups) and Philippine Alliance of Hong Kong made this part easily the most-admired  during the day-long program held to celebrate the 126th Philippine Independence Day.

Mas joins finale with the Filipinos' favorite mascot, Jollibee

In introducing “Balye sa Kalye”, Mas said the segment was also a tribute to the Philippines’  unsung heroes who continue to make the country proud. Here is what she had written to introduce the show: 

“Bayle sa Kalye showcases our rich and vibrant culture…ang ganda ng Pinas at ang tapang at lakas ng bawat Pilipino. (the beauty of the Philippines and the bravery and strength of every Filipino).

The country's everyday heroes are featured in the giant billboards paraded to start the segment

Ang Bayle sa Kalye ay nagbibigay-pugay din sa mga Bagong Bayani sa makabagong panahon.

“Ngayon, sana ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon na mayakap at makilala ang mukha ng mga bayani…


“Mukha na hindi man napatayuan ng bantayog, o kinailangang mag-alay ng buhay… pero patuloy na nagpapakita ng kanilang lakas, tapang at ganda hindi lang sa bansang sinilangan kundi maging sa buong mundo.

“Minsan nababago na ang mga idolo at (kinikilalang) bayani ng mga kabataan ngayon…pero sana ang prinsipyo ng mga bagong mukha ng bayani na lumalaban sa buhay ay mabigyan din ng pagkakataon…

The iconic 'sorbetero' delights the crowd
“Sana hindi maiwan sa dilim ang ipinaglalaban nilang mithiin..dahil sila ang lumalaban para sa kalayaan, karapatan at pagpapahalaga sa lupang tinubuan.

“Sama-sama nating salubungin ang magandang bukas…sabay-sabay na abutin ang tagumpay..dahil tiwala sa Diyos ang ating sandata’s gabay.”

(The full video of “Bayle sa Kalye” can be found here: 

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