Employer acquitted of allowing maid to break work contract
Shatin Court heard Cecelia Guevarra was arrested in 2016 for working illegally in an office, but her employer was cleared due to contradictory evidence
An employer has been cleared in Shatin Court of conspiring to allow her Filipina maid to work in her office, which would constitute a breach of the domestic worker’s immigration status.
May Lui Pui-man was charged by the Immigration Department with two counts of “conspiracy to breach condition of stay” by permitting Cecelia Guevarra to work in her Central office on Hong Kong Island, but was acquitted of both on Friday, sunwebhk.com reported.
Lui was charged after Guevarra was arrested on May 8, 2016 for illegally working in the office. Under the terms of her June 2011 contract Guevarra was supposed to be employed only as a domestic worker at Lui’s home in Kowloon.
Testifying against her employer, Guevarra told the court she worked in Lui’s office for 90 minutes, three times a week, in June-December 2015. She had spent 30-40% of her time doing illegal work in that period. Guevarra also revealed that she owed Lui HK$20,000 (US$2,556).
Magistrate Winnie Lau Yee-wan said that as Lui had chosen not to give evidence, it was the prosecution’s responsibility to prove she was guilty of the charges beyond reasonable doubt. This was not the case, as Guevarra’s evidence had been contradicted by a former staff member in the office.
Guevarra still faces two counts of “breach of condition of stay” and “making false representation to an immigration officer”.