Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

A Filipina who allegedly duped up to 500 job applicants into applying for non-existent jobs in Britain and Canada was arrested in Hong Kong on Thursday and released on bail two days later.

Ester Ylagan, 65, who was said to be a co-owner of the defunct Emry’s Service Staff and Employment Agency, was arrested in Western District for alleged conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, sunwebhk.com reported.

The Philippine Consul Paul Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section, earlier confirmed receiving information about the arrest.

In July 2016, more than 200 domestic workers sought initially from Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre in drafting affidavits complaining about allegedly fraudulent job offers. They said they had been deceived in a job recruitment scam, which each lost between HK$5,000 and HK$20,000 (US$637 and US$2,548).

Their complaints were forwarded to the Hong Kong Labor Department and Hong Kong Police. Their claim for refunds amounting to about $3 million is still pending before the courts.

Ylagan reportedly volunteered twice to go to the police, claiming she had been tricked into sending the job applicants’ money to an unknown business partner in Britain.

But documents submitted subsequently by lawyers for the complainants to police showed Ylagan and several other people allegedly sent up to $10 million to several people in countries as far apart as Malaysia and Burkina Faso.

Ylagan was released on bail on Saturday but is required to report back to police in early July.

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