Based on an employee’s contract, working in Hong Kong entitles them to a number of privileges and benefits, such as access to subsidized medical care on the island and receiving residency status as sanctioned by Immigration.
However, workers are bound by the conditions of their contract, which their employers should know as well. Part of this is the prohibition to work for another employer while keeping a contract with another or performing other work outside the coverage of his/her actual job in the country.
Filipina Sentenced with Suspended Jail Term for Managing Inn
A 38-year-old Filipina domestic worker has been given a suspended jail term for breaching her condition of stay by managing an unlicensed guesthouse in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. Meanwhile, her employer, who was also charged for accommodating the violation, was acquitted, as shared in a report by the Asia Times.
The foreign domestic worker, Pamela Mae Soriano, was jailed for nine weeks and suspended for 12 months at the Eastern Magistrates Court on Wednesday (May 15) for two counts of breaching her condition of stay and one count of managing a guesthouse without a certificate of exemption of a license.
According to Magistrate Vivian Ho, the prosecution was able to successfully prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt on all charges.
However, Soriano’s elderly employer, Tse Wing-leung, was acquitted from the case as the prosecution was not able to establish his guilt as he was also not present in the guesthouse during the two nights that an undercover police officer had conducted the undercover operation.
Officers who gave evidence in court reported that they raided the guesthouse on July 11 last year, after confirming that the Filipina worker has been illegally running the unlicensed guesthouse, which was part of the flat that is owned by Tse.
During trial, the defense lawyer pointed out that Soriano was a single mother of two, and was the sole breadwinner of the family, including her elderly sick mother in the Philippines.
Based on these, the lawyer pleaded for a lenient, non-custodial sentence, citing the Filipina’s financial situation.
However, upon sentencing, Magistrate Ho realized that the defendant could not have committed the offence on her own.
And even if the worker meant well in performing a side job, or even if it had been offered to her by her employer, not knowing the law does not exempt an individual from the repercussions that come with such violations. Hopefully, this will be a timely reminder for all Filipinos working overseas to always do the right thing at all times.