16 months for overstaying FDH

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West Kowloon Law Courts Building By Wpcpey (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A former domestic helper has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to overstaying in Hong Kong and using an Hong Kong ID card that was not hers.

Acting Principal Magistrate So Wai-tak of the West Kowloon Courts on Oct. 18 sentenced A.D. Matibag to a total of 16 months in prisonĀ  following her plea to the two charges and taking into consideration the “totality” principle.

A government prosecutor said Matibag was apprehended on Sept. 19 at the Exit A2 of Mongkok MTR station, when a police officer saw the defendant acting suspiciously.

She was then intercepted, and asked to show her Hong Kong ID. The police officer discovered that the ID card that Matibag showed was not her own.

Taken to the Mongkok Police station, the defendant admitted that she first came to Hong Kong in 1993 to work as a domestic helper. But her visa expired in 2005, and she then overstayed.

In 2010, she found the Hong Kong ID and she picked it up.

In mitigation, Matibag’s duty lawyer said that the 59-year-old was married and had a daughter and three sons in the Philippines.

Since losing her job in Hong Kong, Matibag had relied on the help of her friends for her food and accommodation.

“She had never used the ID, except at the time of the offense. She understands that an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable, but she has pleaded guilty on the first instance, and that she saved the time of court by doing so, and she had a clear record prior to these present cases,” the duty lawyer said.

Judge So said that after carefully considering the mitigation submitted by the defendant’s lawyer, he saw no reason to depart from the usual sentencing guide.

During the sentencing, Matibag, who was in the dock, was seen wiping tears from her eyes.

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