Overstaying Pinay, lover hid kids in Hong Kong for 19 years
HONG KONG – A Filipina was sentenced to a jail term of 12 months on Monday, June 13, for overstaying in Hong Kong for 20 years.
Her Filipino partner got a similar but suspended sentence for aiding and abetting the breach, and for failing to register their two daughters.
Ma. Lorena Escanillas, 43, a former domestic helper, has been in jail since her arrest along with 58-year-old Reynaldo Pangan, also a helper, on April 27 in Aberdeen.
Eastern Court Magistrate Clement Lee suspended Pangan’s sentence for two years so he could look after the girls, aged 18 and 19.
Lee cut the sentences by one-third because Escanillas and Pangan had pleaded guilty to the charges. He also imposed a two-month jail term on Pangan for each of the two charges of failing to register a child.
The couple and their daughters were arrested when police armed with a search warrant raided a flat on Ap Lei Main Street for a suspected crime.
Finding no suspicious items, they checked the identities of the 4 and found that only Pangan had a valid Hong Kong ID card. Escanillas had an ID issued on October 26, 1994, but her visa had expired on October 22, 1996.
The daughters could not show any identity cards, just a patient card and a delivery record issued by the Prince of Wales Hospital indicating a baby girl was born on March 4, 1997. The parents and daughters were arrested.
During investigation, the girls identified Escanillas and Pangan as their parents, with the elder daughter saying that she was told by the couple that she was born in a Hong Kong hospital on March 3, 1997. The younger said she heard she was born in a house in Taipo on February 25, 1998.
They also never traveled because they had no passports.
The sisters were referred to the Social Welfare Department and issued temporary identity documents by the Immigration Department on April 30.
Escanillas told investigators she came to Hong Kong on October 3, 1993, to work as a domestic helper, but was terminated in 1995. Finding no new employer, she decided to remain in the city because she was the eldest daughter and was supporting her family.
She said fear about her illegal status and of going home to face her relatives’ ire kept her from surrendering.
Pangan told investigators he met Escanillas while she was working in Stanley in 1995-1996, and she became his girlfriend. When the woman lost her job, he found places for her to stay until he got her pregnant. He supported her and his daughters “so they won’t be a burden to the government,” he told investigators.
Pangan and his de facto family were renting the flat for $11,000 a month.
The prosecutor likened the case to that of former helper Herminia Garcia, who overstayed for over 20 years and co-habited with insurance executive Nick Cousins. They also had two daughters whom they did not register.
The case came to light only when police investigated after the elder daughter jumped off the 22nd-floor bathroom window of the Cousins’ flat in Repulse Bay.
Garcia was jailed for 12 months and Cousins got an 8-month sentence suspended for two years.
In the present case, Magistrate Lee said he ruled out a 6-10-month sentence on Escanillas because she did not surrender. He said in the precedent case, the High Court meted the 6-10 month sentence because the overstayer surrendered.
Pangan asked The SUN to hide his identity, saying it was for the protection of his daughters. He said he would enroll them in computer courses where they were good. He said he would not send them to the Philippines because he said they still have much to learn about Hong Kong and they speak only English.
But the question is, will they be allowed to remain in Hong Kong, given that neither parent had right of abode when they were born? – Rappler.com