‘Emry’s owner left Hong Kong in 2016’

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The West Kowloon Law Courts where the Small Claims Tribunal is located.

PHILIPPINE authorities have confirmed  that the owner of the shuttered Emry’s  Employment Agency had left Hong Kong in 2016.

“Post (Philippine Consulate General) informed (Labour Department) that Ms. Ester Ylagan flew to Manila sometime in August 2016 as confirmed by the relevant government authorities in the Philippines,” said a report by the PCG to the Department of Foreign Affairs about the latest Technical Working Group meeting held on July 19.

The Labour Department, meanwhile, said it is “continuously liaising with Hong Kong Police and Department of Justice for speedy trial and investigation,” the report added.

Meanwhile, 78 Filipino domestic workers who filed a claim against Ylagan at the Small Claims Tribunal would need to exhaust all means to locate the defendant’s whereabouts. A Tribunal adjudicator on Aug. 28 gave the claimants two choices to proceed with the cases.

One is to effect an out-of-jurisdiction service, whereby they would need to provide the court with Ylagan’s  whereabouts so it could acquire the right to rule on their claims, and the other is to temporarily withdraw the case and when Ylagan is located, to refile their claims.

Edwina Antonio of the Mission for Migrant Workers told Hong Kong News the claimants chose the first option, and would be coordinating with both the Philippine and Hong Kong government to locate Ylagan.

The adjudicator adjourned the hearing on the claims to Nov. 28.

“The Philippine Consulate has filed four illegal recruitment cases against Ylagan in the Philippines, and here, the Hong Kong Police issued an order against Ylagan that when she comes back here, she would be arrested,” Antonio said.

She added that some 100 Filipino domestic workers filed a complaint against Ylagan, and the police investigation was continuing.

Ylagan had failed to appear in any court proceedings against her and Emry’s filed by complainants and the LD, respectively.

Representatives from the LD on July 17 were left asking people in the gallery of a court at the Eastern Magistracy  to inquire whether they were representing Ylagan after the defendant could not be found.

The LD then asked the court to adjourn the cases to Oct. 20 to allow another personal service of summons to Ylagan.

Outside the court, LD prosecutor Gary Tsang said they would be coordinating with the Philippine Consulate to locate Ylagan after Antonio told him about the refund cases pending against the defendant at the Small Claims Tribunal and the District Court.

On Jan. 20, Ylagan was also a no-show at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts for the hearing of 21 criminal cases filed against her.

Ylagan was charged with 21 counts of receiving payment other than the prescribed commission, but she sent no representative or lawyer to appear in court.

Emry’s was said to be the biggest provider of Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

Ylagan had insisted to officials of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office that she did not intend to dupe the jobseekers and promised that she would refund the applicants.

Emry’s office in World Wide House in Central has been shuttered since June 2016.

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