They say nothing in life comes for free. But whether or not you subscribe to this idea, stories of free “come-ons” such as travel and other freebies are very true, especially now that almost everyone can post anything and have access to the internet.
Pinoy BPO Workers on ‘Free HK Tour’ to Serve 5 Months in Prison
Three call centre agents from the Philippines were arrested and sentenced on court to five months in prison after their “free Hong Kong tour,” which turned out to be a scam to open bank accounts using fake documents for criminal purposes, as shared in a report by Hong Kong News.
The three accused Filipinos identified as Enrique Vargas, 30, a customer service representative; Ryan S. Illustrisimo, 30, an administrative assistant; and Maureen M. Gutierrez, 23, an assistant supervisor— each pleaded guilty to two charges of “using a false instrument” at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts in Sai Wan Ho last February 18.
The three were supposed to be sent to prison for six months for each charge, but due to their guilty plea the judge reduced their total sentence to five months only.
According to the prosecution, the accused Filipinos opened bank accounts at the Bank of China branch in Admiralty on October 10 and at a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Central on October 9.
The Filipinos owned up to the charges of using fake documents identifying them as employees of Wharf Holdings, one of Hong Kong’s biggest conglomerates, filed against them.
However, as per the defendants’ lawyer, her clients were only enticed to go on a “free tour in Hong Kong” without knowing that what they were about to do was considered a very serious offence in Hong Kong.
Police investigators suspect that the bank accounts were to be used for illegal transactions (money laundering), to which the defendants claimed they have no knowledge of.
As per Hong Kong law, the charge of “using a false document” bears a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.