Jailed Filipino Resident’s Appeal Re: Driving Ban Gets Denied in HK

A request by a Filipino recidivist to appeal his 12-month driving ban imposed after he admitted stealing a motorcycle and driving it without a license or third-party insurance in July last year was denied by the High Court.

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In his grounds for appeal, petitioner Fredjewell A. Ramos Jr requested that the court restore his license by September when he is scheduled to be released from jail, so he can work as a driver to support his family.

Jailed Filipino Resident Denied to Get Back in Driving in Hong Kong
Credits: Edward Lai / Google Maps

Pinoy Driver Jailed, Failed in Appeal Against Driving Disqualification in Hong Kong

However, in a written judgment issued today, July 13, Justice Andrew Macrae stated that Ramos’ wish could not be considered a particular reason to shorten his driving disqualification, the Sun HK reported.

“There is no reasonably arguable ground of appeal that the applicant should not have been disqualified,” Macrae said, adding that District Judge Timothy H. Casewell “was obliged under the law to order disqualification for at least 12 months.”

Casewell stated in sentencing that Ramos had previously appeared in court on no fewer than 18 occasions and had many theft offenses.

This included a conviction in 2017 for driving away with a stolen vehicle, for which he was sentenced to 26 months in jail in District Court.

On February 24, Ramos, 42, pled guilty to three counts of theft, driving without a valid license, and operating a motor vehicle without third-party insurance.

He admitted stealing a motorcycle left near a light in To Kwa Wan by Mr Leung on June 13 last year and driving it about until he was apprehended by police on July 26 of the same year.

On February 24, this year, Casewell sentenced Ramos to 20 months in jail for theft, four weeks for driving without a license, and three months for driving a motor vehicle without third-party insurance. All sentences were to run at the same time.

In addition, Ramos was barred from driving for a year.

On April 21, Ramos submitted an out-of-time appeal against his sentence, but provided no reason for why he did not meet the deadline.

Ramos simply stated in a letter dated June 3, 2021 that he wanted the disqualification order reduced since he required his driver’s license to work as the sole provider for his family.

His application was disputed by government counsel Douglas Lau, who stated that the court was required to impose the necessary 12-month ban and that there were no reasons to make a different ruling.

Macrae told Ramos that he could re-file his appeal against his sentence out of time with the Court of Appeal, but that his term in custody would be extended if the higher court found no rationale for his request.

Ramos, who completed Form 5 in Hong Kong and received a hotel and restaurant management degree in the Philippines, was employed as a fitness instructor and driver in Hong Kong at the time of his arrest, earning approximately $18,000 per month. He was accountable for his 5-year-old daughter.

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