A High Court judge on Tuesday overturned a lower court’s ruling that a Filipina domestic worker breached the conditions of her stay in Hong Kong.
The woman, Analyn Pedro Dumayag, 36, lodged an appeal after she was convicted of overstaying in Hong Kong four years earlier, Apple Daily reported.
Earlier, Analyn told the court that she was employed by an old woman in 2003 but she actually worked for the family of the old woman’s daughter, and the old woman had died in 2009.
Analyn continued to work for the daughter and her family and signed another employment contract in 2011. She told the court her employer told her that she would help renew her working visa.
In 2015, when Analyn was cleaning the house, she found her passport, which had been kept by her employer. It showed that her work visa had expired – her employer had not renewed the visa for her as promised.
The Filipina feared she would get into trouble, so she turned herself in to the Immigration Department in October 2015.
The domestic worker defended herself in the lower court, saying she was a victim of human trafficking as her employer did not pay her salary during the period from 2009 to 2015, which was about HK$150,000 (US$19,112).
However, the lower court judge did not accept her explanation, saying she was not forced to come and work in Hong Kong and she was free to go anywhere if she wanted.
The judge said he did not believe the worker would sign an employment contract then not get any money over such a long time. She was found guilty of breaching the condition of her stay and sentenced to five and a half months jail.
But on Tuesday, the High Court judge said the prosecutor had not questioned the appellant in the lower court. Given that, the original court judged the appellant as unreliable and without consideration of the fact that the Filipina truly believed her employer would help her to renew her working visa.
The High Court ruled that the domestic worker had won the appeal and withdrew her conviction.