Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Malaysian woman was fined 15,000 ringgits (US$3,723) for illegally hiring a 19-year-old Filipina to work at an ice cream shop in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

In February 2016, Lovintih Betty Balantai was accused of hiring a Filipina who had no valid work permit, and on July 20 2017, Balantai was charged with harboring illegal immigrants. The defendant pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court, and on August 16, 2017, was released on bail of 3,000 ringgits, pending disposal of the case.

On July 6, the court found Balantai guilty after the prosecution proved the case against her beyond reasonable doubt. She was fined 15,000 ringgits.

In Malaysia, the maximum penalty for harboring illegal immigrants is a fine of 50,000 ringgits or a jail term of up to 12 months, or both for each illegal immigrant hired.