Filipino man sentenced to 49 days in jail for overstaying in HK since 2016

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Shatin Law Courts Building

A 60-year-old Filipino man was sentenced to 49 days by the Acting Principal magistrate David Cheung Chi-wai on 16 June at Shatin magistrates courts.

Belza RU, was presented in the court’s dock when the case was called as he was in the custody of the Immigration Department (ImmD).

The prosecutor said that on 2 June this year, Belza RU went to the ImmD to surrender himself. After the investigation,  he was charged with breach of condition of stay and was arrested.

Breach of condition of stay is an offense contrary to section 41 of the Immigration Ordinance Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong. He was charged in Hong Kong as a person permitted to land in Hong Kong by an Immigration Officer by virtue of section 11 of the Immigration Ordinance and did contravene a condition of stay in force.

BELZA RU’s Story:

The Belza RU is a 60-year-old national of the Philippines who arrived in Hong Kong on 23 May 2012 as a visitor and with his stay extended on the basis of his application for a dependent visa, but when that expired on 27 April 2016 and he was required by the Immigration Department to leave Hong Kong. He raised a non-refoulement claim on the basis that if he returned to the Philippines he would be harmed or killed by a fellow villager or his people over some personal dispute in his home district. He was subsequently released on recognizance pending the determination of his claim.

Belza RU was born in Paracale, Camarines Norte, the Philippines. At the age of 3 he then moved with his family to Barangay Santo Domingo, Nabua, Camarines Sur. After leaving school he worked as a farmer, got married, and raised a family with 6 children. In about 2010, Belza RU together with his friends beat up a fellow villager Romeo who was drunk and causing disturbances, and thereafter Romeo swore that he would ask his brother whom he claimed to be a member of the terrorist group New People’s Army (“NPA”) to kill all of them in revenge.

Several days later when the Belza RU heard that one of his friends who was involved in the fight had been shot dead by some unknown person, he feared that it was part of Romeo’s revenge against them, and so on 23 May 2012 he fled from the Philippines for Hong Kong where he subsequently overstayed and raised his non-refoulement claim for protection, for which he completed a Non-refoulement Claim Form (“NCF”) on 3 October 2017 and attended screening interview before the Immigration Department with legal representation from the Duty Lawyer Service (“DLS”).

In the High Court Belza RU’s application was rejected. He applied at the Court of Final Appeal and received a decision on 22 April that this application was refused.

On 2 June, he surrendered at Immigration Department.

At the Shatin court, Belza RU’s Defense Lawyer explained to the AP Magistrate Mr. Cheung that Belza RU, is married, with 12 children (in High Court he said he has said 6 children), all living in the Philippines. Belza RU was remorseful and surrendered himself at the ImmD.

Acting Principal Mr. Cheung gave his sentence. AP Magistrate Cheung said that Belza RU stayed in Hong Kong without a visa for five years and 10 months, which is equivalent to 27 weeks of imprisonment. But as he pleaded guilty, 1/3 of the period will be deducted, and the jail period was reduced to 18 weeks or equivalent to 126 days. Again, AP Magistrate Cheung said that as he was in custody for 77 days in the past, it was again deducted, and finally got 49 days in jail.