Judge junks bail petition of 2 FDHs linked to prostitution ring

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The Eastern Magistrates' Courts in Sai Wan Ho

A judge in Sai Wan Ho this morning (June 4) dismissed the bail application of two Filipino domestic workers who were arrested for allegedly being involved in an online prostitution ring in Mid-Levels.

Magistrate Veronica Heung rejected the bail petition of J.E. Palpal-latoc, 40, and J.V. Gallego, 47, due to the gravity of the charge against them and their lack of local ties.

“(The defendants’) bail application is refused. Both defendants are remanded in custody,” Judge Heung said.

“The nature of the allegations is strong and serious and both defendants have no local ties,” she added.

While the two defendants were remanded in jail, they can still appeal to the High Court that they be allowed to post bail.

Each of the two defendants had offered to post $25,000 for their bail, to surrender their travel documents, and reside in the address provided by the Philippine Consulate General.

The defense lawyer also challenged the prosecution’s claim that there was a strong case against the two Filipino women.

He said the defense would challenge the admission made by the two defendants during the police investigation, because they had no lawyer when their statements were taken.

“The admission was made without the presence of a lawyer. If we successfully challenge it during trial, the prosecution case could collapse,” the defense lawyer said.

“Both are not shareholders (in the prostitution ring). The prosecution has to prove that the money they received actually came from the prostitution services,” he added.

The two Filipino women were arrested in their employer’s flat on Tregunther Path, which policemen from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau raided on May 15.

The domestic workers’ employer, a 60-year-old woman identified as Ms. Wong, and her 71-year-old sister were also arrested in the raid.

The police identified the Filipinas’ employer as the mastermind of the prostitution ring, which allegedly offered through websites the services of Russian and Venezuelan prostituted women, and charged $6,000 to $7,000 (P40,000 to P46,000) an hour.

The employer was the alleged mastermind of the prostitution ring. The police also reportedly confiscated $10 million in cash from the flat.

The prosecutor said Palpalatoc admitted to helping in answering phone calls from clients and in arranging their appointments with the sex workers.

“Most importantly, she said she would obtain .005 percent of the net profits,” the prosecutor said.

On the other hand, he said Gallego admitted to arranging appointments with clients, “taking care of the websites,” and recording the business transactions in their ledgers.

“(She) earned $1,200 a month as reward. Ms. Wong would ask (Gallego) to receive calls (from clients) and arrange sex workers to call them,” the prosecutor said, adding that both domestic workers knew the nature of their employer’s business.

The two Filipino women face charges “living on the earnings of prostitution of others.” The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.


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