The Labor Tribunal in Hong Kong. Photo: Google Maps
The Labor Tribunal in Hong Kong. Photo: Google Maps

An employer who fired her Filipina domestic worker because she refused to go to China to work for another person has refused to pay the woman’s claim for damages.

Employer Wong San-wing told the Labour Tribunal in Hong Kong on Tuesday that she would not pay the HK$113,000 (US$14,396) claim of 48-year-old worker Rowena Obaldo because the worker had found a new employer after her dismissal, reported.

However, Obaldo was sacked by her new employer after one month, Wong said. Obaldo’s damages claim was based largely on her loss of income in the four years that various authorities were investigating her complaints against Wong, employment agent CK Chan and mainland employer DZ Huang.

Wong, Chan and Huang were convicted in 2017 in a “conspiracy to defraud” case filed against them by immigration and were each sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years. They appealed their conviction in the High Court last September, but lost.

During this period, Obaldo was largely unable to work while incurring expenses, so she raised her original damages claim from $70,000 to $113,000.

On April 15, 2015, Obaldo was interviewed by Huang but was then told by the agent to sign a work contract with Wong, as the employer supposedly liked her. She started working in Wong’s Hung Hom flat on June 11 that year.

Then in August 2015, Wong told Obaldo she was taking her on a holiday to the mainland with the employer’s daughter and son. The Filipina applied for a visitor visa to China and traveled with Wong and the children across the border to their destination, but Obaldo could not remember the name of the place.

She then discovered she was taken to China to work for Huang and that the children were actually not Wong’s but Huang’s. Obaldo said she could not do anything because Huang had taken her passport. Her daily chores were cleaning the house, cooking, shopping in the market and taking the children to their activity centers.

She said she was always concerned because she knew her status on the mainland was illegal. When her visa was about to expire, Obaldo was told to return to Hong Kong on September 25 to renew it. She decided to complain to immigration and to the Philippine Consulate.

The next day, she told the agent and Wong she did not want to go back to the mainland and her contract was terminated.

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