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3 arrested in Immigration raid deny working illegally

Posted on 04 July 2024 No comments


Immigration officers bring some of those arrested to detention centers

Two Filipinas and one Bangladeshi arrested on May 20 in one of the anti-illegal worker operations of the Immigration Department, have denied taking employment beyond that specified in their condition of stay.

Marlyne Ogues, Maryjane Bienes and Lili Akther professed their innocence at Shatin Court yesterday, July 3, prompting Acting Principal Magistrate Amy Chan to schedule a two-day trial on Aug. 22-23.

The two Filipinas had domestic helper visas in force when arrested for breach of condition of stay for allegedly performing odd jobs in a restaurant in Central. They were each made to post a cash bail of $5,000.


Akther was terminated on Dec. 3, 2022 and was supposed to leave two weeks later, so had been overstaying for one and a half years when arrested with the Filipinas. 

She pleaded guilty to the second charge of taking employment while remaining in Hong Kong in breach of the limit of stay, but Magistrate Chan put off her sentencing until after the trial. 

She was remanded in jail custody.

The three were among the nine persons arrested in the raids undertaken by ImmD on May 20-23 on 165 target locations including massage parlors, premises under renovation and restaurants all over Hong Kong.

An ImmD spokesman said, " Offenders are liable to prosecution and upon conviction face a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to two years' imprisonment. Aiders and abettors are also liable to prosecution and penalties."

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Mastermind in fake FDH contracts ring sentenced to 41 months in jail

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Some District Court cases are heard in Tsuen Wan Court

A 63-year-old local female who used to run an employment agency in Mong Kok was sentenced yesterday to a total of 3 years and five months in jail for running a syndicate that arranged for 26 foreign nationals to work in Hong Kong illegally using fake employment contracts.

A press statement issued by the Immigration Department said the accused was convicted at the District Court of four counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of using a copy of a false instrument.

She was said to be the mastermind of the syndicate that used false instruments to obtain FDH visas for 26 people from different countries.


Earlier, one Hong Kong male resident and six FDHs involved in the operation had been convicted for various offences such as conspiracy to defraud and making false representation to an immigration officer and were sentenced to up to 15 months’ imprisonment.

Immigration began investigating the case after detecting several suspicious FDH visa applications from the same employment agent that were submitted to them for processing. After an investigation that took months, a syndicate was identified as having arranged for a big number of foreign nationals to come to Hong Kong to work as domestic helpers.

The Department subsequently mounted operations codenamed "Ironshield”, as a result of which a total of 18 persons, including the syndicate mastermind, three Hong Kong residents and 14 FDHs, have been arrested.

In addition, two computers, two mobile phones and a large amount of fake documents were seized, including time deposit advices, electricity bills and water bills.

Immigration said more suspects could be arrested as the investigation is continuing.

It is also reminded the public that making false representation to an immigration officer is a serious offence which is punishable with a maximum fine of $150,000 and imprisonment for 14 years.

The other offences committed in this case, such as conspiracy defraud and making, possessing or using false instruments could also land one in jail for up to 14 years for each charge.

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Libreng SIM at Internet sa mga Bagong OFW papuntang Hong Kong!

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HK again sizzles in ‘very hot weather’

Posted on 03 July 2024 No comments


People are advised to stay indoors or avoid prolonged exposure to the sun

The “very hot weather warning” was raised today by the Observatory, as the temperature surged to 34 degrees Celsius in certain parts of the city, including Stanley in Hong Kong island and Yuen Long Park in the New Territories.

The heat wave is forecast to continue until the weekend, when temperatures could rise to 34 degrees in the urban areas and 36 degrees in the New Territories on Saturday, despite isolated showers.

With the very hot weather warning in force, residents are warned to stay indoors as much as possible, drink sufficient water, rest or seek help immediately if feeling unwell.


If symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath or confusion develop, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Elderly persons, pregnant women, infants and children, those with chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure as well as the obese are more vulnerable to heat stroke.

When doing outdoor activities, drink more water and avoid over exertion. If feeling unwell, take a rest in the shade or cooler place. Perform outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon.

If indoors, keep windows open if there is no air-conditioning and use electric fans. Drink water regularly. Go to air-conditioned public places to cool off if the heat becomes unbearable.

To avoid sunstroke and sunburn, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Light-colored and air-permeable clothing, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen lotion of at least SPF 15 can help reduce the chance of sunburn and solar UV radiation.

Last month, the very hot weather warning was issued for more than a week, indicating temperatures hitting 33 degrees or more.

The heatwave matched the record set in 2016, when the warning was issued for nine straight days in June.

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Trial begins for Filipina DH charged over 2021 fatal car accident in Central

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The runaway car stopped only after being wedged in steel railings (File)

The trial got underway Tuesday of a Filipina domestic helper who pleaded not guilty to causing the death of a French woman and seriously injuring four others, after a car she had just parked rolled at a fast clip down Peel Street in Central in 2021.

Reshielle L. Magsino, 46, is being tried before District Judge Tim Casewell at Tsuen Wan Court on one count of dangerous driving causing death, and another of causing grievous bodily injury.

Killed in the incident that happened at around 8pm on Dec 10, 2021 was French national Elodie Ma, who was 27 at the time. She was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital in critical condition after the incident, and died less than 24 hours later.


The four other people who were seriously injured were Truong Lise Pui Yee (who was initially listed in critical condition but recovered eventually), Riachi Julien, Moroz Dean Ian and Hui Yat-yuen.

According to the agreed facts read out in court, Magsino had about nine years of driving experience at the time. The registered owner of the car was her employer but Magsino had admitted to police that she was the one driving that night.

The court heard that the road, which has a 1:4 slope, was dry when the incident happened.

Security cameras showed Magsino’s employer getting out of the car first, followed by the accused who was in the driver’s seat.

The car began rolling down the slope immediately after, with the open door hitting Magsino who fell. She tried to run after the vehicle but it rolled down fast.

Ma was shown standing outside a restaurant on Staunton Street when the car rolled over her, causing severe head injury.

The  four others who were injured were shown chatting on the road. Some were hurt as they tried to dodge the runaway car, while one was hit by steel railings dislodged went the vehicle got wedged in them, before coming to a full stop.

Magsino was arrested by the police at the scene while the victims were rushed to hospital.

The trial resumes on Friday, and Magsino’s bail of $10,000 was extended until then.

The case was first heard in the Eastern magistracy but was elevated to the District Court due to the seriousness of the charges.

Dangerous driving causing death is punishable with a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years. If the act resulted in grievous bodily harm, the maximum penalty is $50,000 fine and seven years' imprisonment.

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5 charges added to 20 against Filipino accused of defrauding Immigration

Posted on 02 July 2024 No comments


The accused is facing 25 charges of fraud at the District Court

Prosecutors added five more charges to the 20 originally filed against a Filipino asylum seeker when he appeared today at District Court, accused of defrauding the Immigration Department by presenting fake employment contracts to enable his clients to get domestic helper visas.

Immigration accuses Homer Herrera, 40 years old, of conspiring with other people to defraud the Immigration director and his officers by “dishonestly and falsely representing” to them that they were to work for named employers in Hong Kong.

The offenses are contrary to Common Law and punishable under Section 159C(6) of the Crimes Ordinance.


The 21st charge accuses Herrera of conspiring with Ng Tit-hing, Naveed Riaz, Jo-ann Estrada and a person named Scott by presenting to Immigration a fake contract purportedly between Ng as employer and Riaz as DH.

The document induced the Immigration director and his officers “to act contrary to their public duty, namely to grant the said Riaz Naveed permission to remain in Hong Kong, in circumstances which they would not otherwise have granted.”

In the 22nd charge, Herrera is accused of conspiring with Estrada, to submit a fake contract between Chiu Wai-kin as employer and Purnima Gurung.

In the 23rd charge, Herrera and Estrada allegedly conspired with Yao Maisheng as employer and Karishma Gurung as DH.

In the 24th charge, Herrera and Scott allegedly conspired with Analiza Chan as employer and Kaur Amandeep as DH.

In the 25th charge, Herrera and Estrada allegedly conspired with Ho Ka-hun as employer and Juvelyn Potot as DH.

The 20 earlier charges, which were heard when the case was still before the Shatin Magistrates Court, are detailed in this earlier story in The SUN:

Herrera was remanded in jail custody until the next hearing on Sept. 5.

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2 DHs charged for millions that flowed in and out of their bank accounts

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The cases were heard at Tuen Mun Court

Two Filipino domestic helpers have been ordered detained after appearing at Tuen Mun Court today for money laundering, because their ATM cards allegedly wound up in the hands of criminals who used these to deposit and withdraw millons of dollars they raised from scams.

The case of Leahlyn Pamonag, 35 years old, was transferred by Acting Principal Magistrate Daniel Tang to the District Court because the amount involved – a little over $3 million – exceeded the limit for cases than can be handled by a magistrate court.

Marjorie Zablan, 45, was also remanded in custody for dealing with property known or believed to be proceeds of indictable offense, for the $1.6 milion that passed through her Hongkong and Shanghai Bank account.


Pamonag was told to appear before the District Court when her case resumes on July 23.

According to the police complaint, a total of $3,075,807 was deposited and subsequently withdrawn from her account with Standard Charterted Bank.

She is accused of dealing with the property, together with an unknown person, between March 26 and April 30, 2023.

Zablan, on the other hand, is accused of dealing in $1.630,246 in crime proceeds that flowed in and out of her HSBC account on May 10-15, 2023.

Both weomen are charged with violation of Sections 25(1) and 25(3) of the Organized asnd Serious Crimes Ordinance.

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Handover freebies and goodies a hit with public

Posted on 01 July 2024 No comments


The free tram rides were a big hit

Many people took advantage of a number of freebies and discounts offered across Hong Kong today, as the city marked the 27th anniversary of its handover to the mainland.

A big hit was the free tram ride to any destination, which was enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. 

As it was also a statutory holiday, many of those who gleefully hopped on and off the “ding-dings” were foreign domestic workers.

Among them was Mav Morales and her friends, who managed to fulfil their longtime plan of taking the longest tram route of Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town so they could see all the sites along one of Hong Kong’s oldest parts.

“We were surprised that there were not a lot of people along the way. Maybe many FDHs were not allowed to take the day off," Mav said.


While they may have stayed away from enjoying the freebies for the day, including unlimited rides on the light rail, many FDHs did not miss out on taking time off to spend the sunny day by the sea, including members of United Filipinos –Migrante Hong Kong, who opted to go to Butterfly Beach for a summer getaway.

A number of Filipino residents took on the free tram to get from North Point to Central, where they hopped onto an almost-empty ferry going to Sok Ku Wan on Lamma island.  

To their surprise, they were greeted o their arrival by hundreds of people who were lined up by the shore, after taking part in a number of dragon-boat races being held there.

Also popular was the open-top bus that went from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui and West Kowloon, as it was the ride of choice of people who took the opportunity to visit museums for free.

Visitors to the M+ Museum got to skip paying the $120 entrance fee (RTHK photo)

Easily the most popular among the holidaymakers was the relatively new and pricier  M+ in West Kowloon, which according to reports, had recorded some 20,000 visitors as of 5pm. 

Some residents who stayed away from the hip-looking museum before because of the relatively high entrance fee ($120 for regular tickets) took the rare chance to have a look around for free.

Restaurants which offered discount of up to 29% off the bill, seemed to have boosted their sales considerably, despite the huge number of people who took advantage of the long weekend holiday to travel outside the city, and the continuing hot spell which made going around a sweaty experience.

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Foreign HK PRs can enter China on travel cards from Jul 10

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CE Lee inspecting the border at Lok Ma Chau (File)

Starting from next Wednesday, July 10, non-Chinese permanent residents in Hong Kong can apply for mainland travel permits to enter China.

Applications for the card-type document can be submitted to any branch of China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Ltd. It will allow the holder to travel to the mainland multiple times within a five-year period, with each stay not exceeding 90 days.

China’s Exit and Entry Administration will issue the card to permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau to allow them to visit the mainland for business, tourism and visiting relatives.


If the permit holders plan to work, study or report on events and other activities on the mainland, they must make separate applications to the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong and Macau or the National Immigration Administration.

Mainland authorities say they hope the new policy can better convenient personnel exchanges in areas such as businesses and investment, culture and tourism, as well as education and research.

Chief Executive John Lee expressed gratitude to the Central Government for granting the card to permanent residents as Hong Kong celebrates the 27th anniversary of its handover to China.

"At this important moment when Hong Kong residents celebrate together our return to the motherland, I am grateful for the Central Government for introducing the measure in support of Hong Kong again, which demonstrates our country's care and support for the HKSAR all along,” said Lee.

He said that many non-Chinese Hong Kong PRs have deep roots in Hong Kong and have made great contributions to the city’s development. There are also many foreign talents in Hong Kong who are eager to seize the opportunity of being able to travel up north without having to secure a visa.

The historic concession follows the close communication between HK and Mainland authorities in promoting the two-way flow of talent across the border.

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DMW shuts down travel agency offering Poland jobs

Posted on 30 June 2024 No comments


DMW's announcemen of the closure of Jonieza Joy Travel & Tours

The Department of Migrant Workers has shut down a travel agency after finding it  “positively” recruiting Filipinos for work in Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Canada, UK, Dubai at Saudi Arabia without a license.

The agency was identified as Jonieza Joy Travel and Tours, or more popularly known as Jonieza Joy Travel & Tours Agency & Consultancy,  which was operating in Initao, Misamis Oriental .

Separately, a Filipino accused of offering jobs as cashier or human resources manager in Chicago has been sentenced to between 12 and 14 years in jail for violating section 6 of R.A. 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as amended by R.A. 10022.

The illegal recruiter will be jailed for between 12 and 14 years

George Benson de Dios was also ordered to repay his victims a total sum of Php54,000 with an annual interest rate of 6% from the issuance of the sentence until it is fully paid.

Regional Trial Court branch 102 in Malolos, Bulacan found de Dios to have offered two Filipinos the jobs of cashier or human resource manager in Chicago, Illinois, with a monthly salary of between Php65,000 and Php90,000.

However, they needed to pay a Php54,000 fee each, for the processing fee and pre-departure orientation seminar.


Because of the long wait, the two victims decided to seek help from the National Bureau of Investigation.

Meanwhile, Jonieza Joy agency was shut down on June 25 by a team led by DMW Assistant Secretary Francis Ron C. De Guzman,  along with OIC-Regional Director Atty Fidel Macauyag.

The decision to close down the travel agency was the result of surveillance operations carried out by DMW-Region X as a result of reports by Filipinos in Poland that it was offering jobs as welders, electrician, locksmiths, greenhouse workers, as well as hotel workers and caregivers, with salaries ranging between Php35,000 and Php40,000 per month, with bonuses and allowances.


Jonieza Joy was found to have promised a deployment period of between five and eight months, for which applicants must pay placement and processing fees of between Php190,000 and Php230,000.

To stop the company from resuming operations, the DMW recommended the cancellation of its business permit along with its registration with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Its owners and officers involved will face a charge of syndicated illegal recruitment which is punishable  by life imprisonment and a fine of between Php2 million and Php5 million.

If found guilty they will also be added to the DMW List of Persons with Derogatory Record, which will prevent them from engaging in any recruitment activity.

Those who have been similarly victimized by the travel agency are urged to contact the office of DMW-RO X in Cagayan de Oro or message the DMW Anti-Illegal Recruitment page.

This is the 11th business establishment to have been ordered closed by the DMW for suspected illegal recruitment this year alone.

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MWO airs warning on new sex video, tells victim to seek help

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PCG warns uploading or sharing obscene photos/videos is a serious offence in HK (File)
The Migrant Workers Office has expressed extreme distress over a video being shared among  Filipinos in Hong Kong showing a woman being forced into having sex by three men who appeared to be South Asians.

Reports reaching the MWO suggested that the incident happened in Hong Kong, and that the victim was a Filipina domestic helper. However, there has been no independent confirmation of this. 

Others say everyone in the video, including the woman, appeared South Asian.


A number of Filipinos who have seen the video say they were very disturbed by its graphic content, and are asking officials of the Consulate to look into the matter immediately and take action if the victim was indeed a Filipina.

An officer of the MWO contacted by The SUN acknowledged being sent a copy of the video by someone she did not know, and when she inquired as to how it got into the sender’s hand, it was immediately deleted.

The MWO officer said she had already inquired with the Assistance to Nationals Section of the Philippine Consulate on what possible action they could take, but was told that it would be difficult to send it on to the police without knowing how it came about, who had uploaded it, and whether the victim was indeed a Filipina.


Without any of this information being made available to them, the most that the MWO could do at this stage is to appeal to anyone who has knowledge about the video, and especially the victim if she was indeed a Filipina, to contact them immediately so they can take action.

Anyone who has relevant information in this regard may call the hotlines of ATN: 9155 4023;  MWO: 5529 1880; and  OWWA: 6345 9324. All information will be handled with the strictest confidence.

At the same time, the Consulate again warned Filipinos to stop uploading or sharing the video as this violates Hong Kong ‘s Control of Indecent and Obscene Articles Ordinance.

Under this law, anyone who uploads or shares obscene or indecent photos or videos of oneself or other people commits an offence, for which the maximum penalty is three years’ imprisonment and fine of up to $1 million.

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Don’t be fooled twice, says Filipina scam victim

Posted on 29 June 2024 No comments


Beware of refund offers coursed through this email address

If you get told by someone on Facebook that you can get back the money that had been fraudulently obtained from you by presenting a PayMaya account in the Philippines  that should have a substantial sum in credit, think again.

This is the advice of a Filipina domestic helper who narrowly missed being cheated out of her hard-earned salary for the second time, after being convinced by someone she only chatted with on social media that she could recover what she had lost the first time by filing a claim online with a group called “cyber crime report.”

Jenny T. posted on Facebook about the losses incurred by those who put money into a dropshipping company called Seataoo whose license had just been revoked by the US Securities and Exchange Commission when someone with the Facebook name Margaret Laplana sent her a private message asking whether she was a scam victim.


Jenny replied that she lost money in a student visa scheme promoted by OFW blogger  Bryan Calagui who had also endorsed Seataoo via his Facebook account.

That was when Margaret told Jenny that she also lost money in Seataoo but was able  to recover a bit of it after sending an email to She also said she knew of another Filipina named Jenny who also lost money in the Canada student visa offer but was able to get a refund after emailing the same group directly.

The fake PayMaya email address sends messages riddled with grammatical errors

Margaret told Jenny to send a refund request to the email address she mentioned as it was already midnight and not a lot of people would be emailing to file a similar claim.

Jenny did as told and almost immediately received a reply from “Pay Maya Help Support,” saying the case she had complained about, in which she lost about P132,000, had already been reported to them.

She was told that she could get a refund if she had a PayMaya account as that was where her money would be deposited. She was also told to submit evidence of the money she lost.


Jenny immediately downloaded the PayMaya app and sent the receipt for the money she sent to the company that enticed her to apply for a student visa to Canada.

Friday morning Jenny received another email saying she could get P80,500 refund but she needed to show that she had at least P40,500 as “show money” in her PayMaya account. At the same time, she was told to send them her one-time password to her account so she could  supposedly get a reference number. The catch was, she had to deposit the required amount to her PayMaya account in 5 minutes to get her money.

As she had no means or funds to make an immediate transfer to the account, she asked Margaret for advice, and the latter readily showed her how she can send money from different payment platforms to PayMaya. Jenny balked, saying she needed the HK dollars that were in her account here.

As it was already morning, Jenny thought of consulting a chat group comprising other complainants in the alleged student visa scam and she was immediately told to stop communicating with Margaret and those offering her refund through email as they were obviously scammers.

She was also told to check the emails sent to her through “cybercrimereport3” and “PayMaya Help support” and note the badly constructed and ungrammatical messages sent to her, obviously in haste.

Other people in the chat helped check the email addresses she used in pursuing her claim, and showed her they were not connected with the PayMaya online payment platform, nor is there a group called Cyber Crime Report that offers refund to scam victims.

It took awhile for Jenny to accept  that she almost got scammed again, but after reviewing all her communications with Margaret and the people behind the pretend refund platforms, she began seeing all the red flags that should have put her on guard. Her resolve grew when she checked Margaret’s Facebook profile and saw that it was locked.

Someone called Margaret Laplana on Facebook initiated the refund offer

But all these came too late in preventing her from falling for yet another racket.

Early this year, a friend and a former cricket player approached her to say how sorry she felt upon learning that Jenny had lost a lot of money trying to pursue her dream of going to Canada. To recover her losses, this friend convinced Jenny to download an investment app ran by an Indonesian, where she was supposed to earn huge profits.

Jenny said she rejected the suggestion outright, but when she bumped into her friend in Central last January she was finally convinced to put in her entire monthly salary of $7,000 into the supposed investment scheme.

But no sooner had she done this that her friend told her she had been scammed as well, and that the matter had already been reported to the police. She now avoids talking to Jenny, and acts as if nothing has happened.

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