Date
24 March 2017
Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung (inset) slammed the Immigration Department for negligence after an officer failed to take heed of a maid's note asking for help. Photos: immd.gov.hk, HKEJ
Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung (inset) slammed the Immigration Department for negligence after an officer failed to take heed of a maid's note asking for help. Photos: immd.gov.hk, HKEJ

Immigration under fire for ignoring Filipino maid’s cry for help

A lawmaker has slammed the Immigration Department for ignoring a call for help from a Filipino maid who said she was taken to mainland China by her Hong Kong employer to work, Sing Tao Daily reported Wednesday.

The 23-year-old domestic helper, named Rosgen, said she was hired by an employer in Hong Kong in early December.

On Dec. 29, she said, her employer took her along on a family trip to the mainland.

The employer handed her over to a friend there, along with her passport, and asked her to help with cleaning and looking after the children at the friend’s house.

Rosgen said she initially refused but gave in after she was threatened that she would be sent back to the Philippines if she disobeyed.

She worked in the mainland for 12 days in a row before she was brought back to Hong Kong on Jan. 10 via the Lok Ma Chau border control point.

Rosgen said she handed a written note saying, “I have a problem, please help me call my agency in Hong Kong”, to an immigration officer at a counter at the border control point.

However, she said, the officer did not offer any assistance.

Rosgen filed a complaint with the department the same day, after she returned to Hong Kong.

League of Social Democrats legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who is assisting Rosgen, criticized the department for its negligence in ignoring her request for help.

A representative for the department said it has reviewed closed-circuit television footage, which appears to show that the domestic helper was calm and behaved normally, chatting with her employer when they walked past the immigration counter.

The representative said officers thought the domestic helper merely wanted to contact her agent and suggested she use the public phones in the border control building.

When the department received the complaint from Rosgen, officials accompanied her to make a report to the police.

The department said it has begun an internal investigation into the handling of the request for help.

It said a separate investigation was also underway into the alleged breach of the law by the employer in arranging for the domestic worker to work outside the premises stated in the employment contract.

Rosgen plans to file a complaint against her employer with the Labor Department, with help from her agent.

Leung said it is not uncommon for domestic helpers in Hong Kong to be taken to the mainland to work.

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EL/DY/FL

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