Filipina Helper in HK Jailed For Using Expired Contract To Apply For Loan

A Filipina domestic helper was jailed for two months in Hong Kong after she was found guilty on a charge of using her expired employment contract to apply for financial loan last November.

A remorseful Marites Olarte, 42, wept as she pleaded guilty before Shatin Court on March 1 as the summary of facts relating to a charge of “obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception” was read to her.

According to sources, Olarte went to a Prime Credit branch at Lucky Plaza in Shatin on Nov 6 and applied for a HK$40,100 (P267,079) loan. She allegedly presented her work contract and work visa, which by then had become invalid because she was terminated by her employer, Wong Chin-wang, just two days earlier.

A Filipina staff of the lending company gave Olarte HK$15,661, after she settled an outstanding loan. The new contract stated that she should repay the loan in 17 monthly installments of HK$3,121.

Initially, Olarte managed to pay her first loan installment, but she later failed to settle subsequent payments, leaving an outstanding loan of HK$49.936. The lender investigated when Olarte defaulted in her payments and found out from Wong and Immigration that she had left Hong Kong after being terminated.

She was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport on the night of Feb 11, 2018 on her return from the Philippines supposedly to start working for a new employer the next day.

Her lawyer appealed for leniency, saying the woman was separated from her husband and came to Hong Kong five years ago to work as a domestic helper. He said the helper needed money to pay an employment agency that got her a new employer after she was terminated, and to pay the graduation expenses of her children.

The lawyer added that Olarte entrusted to a friend the payment money to pay the November and December installments of the loan before she went home on November 11 to wait for her new visa. However, the friend paid only the November installment, the counsel said.

Magistrate Don So sent Olarte to two months in jail, after discounting the prescribed sentence by a third for her guilty plea.