The Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino domestic worker who assisted her ailing employer by helping out at the family food shop, expecting no extra pay in return, was sent to jail by a Hong Kong judge who cited the letter of the law, it has been revealed.

The defendant was sentenced at the Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on March 19 to six weeks in prison for working illegally for her boss, who was suffering from cancer, hongkongnews.com.hk reported.

The court heard that the employer had asked the defendant to help her with the family food shop because of her illness. The defendant said she did not regard the work as employment as she had no expectation of any extra pay or benefit.

“It was simply to help her employer who was feeling unwell that day,” her defense lawyer said.

The Filipina was arrested at the shop last December 12.

The lawyer asked Deputy Magistrate Cheng Yu-kit for a suspended jail sentence. However, the magistrate said imprisonment was the usual sentence for illegal work, though he accepted that the defendant had committed the offense out of goodness of heart.

Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong are not allowed to take other forms or employment.

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