Overstayer free to go home

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Shatin Law Courts Building

DESPITE a medical report saying she had no illness, a 69-year-old Filipina who had been overstaying in Hong Kong for more than six years escaped a jail term.

On July 5, Shatin Deputy Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan sentenced T. Sabino to six months in prison, and reduced it to four months following her guilty plea.

The sentence was also suspended for one year, which meant T. Sabino was free to go home to the Philippines.

Sabino was set to fly to the Philippines in the second week of July.

The defendant, who looked frail and grimacing in pain when she appeared in court on June 7, pleaded guilty to breach of condition of stay.

She had been overstaying in the city since her visa expired in February 2011 and had surrendered to authorities on May 19, 2017. Her duty lawyer said Sabino, single, had a clear record in Hong Kong and had been working as a domestic helper in the city for 30 years.

“The main mitigating factor here is that she surrendered to authorities and she pleaded guilty,” the duty lawyer said.

Seeing the defendant grimacing in pain, Judge Lam told the defendant she could sit on a chair during the court proceedings.

Sabino’s lawyer told the court the defendant was complaining of abdominal pains. Before her sentencing, Judge Lam had called for medical reports on the defendant.

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