Filipina in ‘hubby’s fake death’ case sentenced
A former domestic helper who was charged in court for faking the death of her Filipino husband so she could marry a Hong Kong man was sentenced to six months in prison.
Acting Principal Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing, however, suspended the jail term for 18 months, which meant that T. Lam would not have to serve the sentence provided she would not commit any other offense during the period.
The court heard that Lam married her Hong Kong husband a year after she had given birth to their son in April 1995.
They broke up seven years after the marriage, but in 2015, they reconciled again.
“She married the Hong Kong man after giving birth to their son and since then she was the sole breadwinner of the family and supported her son,” the duty lawyer said.
The son, 22, was working part-time in a convenience store.
The defense also said Lam “singlehandedly” raised her son.
As for her husband in the Philippines, the defense said the defendant had lost contact with him and his family members even before she came to Hong Kong.
Lam first came to Hong Kong in 1987 on a domestic worker’s visa
Judge To then inquired from the defense if Lam’s son was present in court, but the defendant said he was not there because he had work.
The magistrate then inquired from the prosecutor what the maximum sentence was for the offense, and the prosecutor said the maximum jail term was seven years in prison.
Judge To then sentenced Lam to nine months in prison but reduced it to six months owing to her guilty plea.
At the time of her sentencing, the Filipina had been in jail custody for two weeks.
On Oct. 16 at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts, Lam pleaded guilty to the offense of signing a false notice for the purpose of procuring a marriage.
The prosecution said Lam misled the Immigration Department when she declared that she was a widow so she could marry a Hong Kong man.
However, it was later discovered that Lam was still married in the Philippines as her Filipino husband was still alive. Informed of the facts of the case, Judge To said the case was “serious” and asked the prosecutor if any other action would be taken against the defendant.
The prosecutor said the defendant has obtained her permanent residency in Hong Kong.
To which Judge To replied that Lam was able to do so because “she cheated to procure this by this marriage.”
“This is the benefit of her false representation ,” said Judge To.
The prosecutor said the Immigration Department could not deport her back to the Philippines.
“So nothing is being done as of the moment?” said Judge To.
Lam’s duty lawyer argued that the case of the prosecution was that the defendant’s first marriage was not dissolved.
But Judge To said the case seemed more serious, noting that the defendant was apparently enjoying “the fruit of a poisoned tree”, and as bigamy was illegal in Hong Kong, the marriage was invalid.