HK domestic workers protest for Filipino maid arrested when bullet ‘planted’ in bag at airport

Filipino domestic workers staged a protest on Sunday over the arrest of a Hong Kong maid who they claim had a bullet planted in her luggage by corrupt staff at Manila Airport.

Gloria Ortinez, 56, was arrested on Oct. 25 after police found a live bullet wrapped in red cloth in her handbag as she tried to board her flight from Manila to Hong Kong.

However, the Filipino domestic worker community in Hong Kong and campaign group GabrielaHK claim corrupt airport officials are known to plant bullets in passengers’ luggage in order to extort the victims. 

At a rally at Chater Gardens on Sunday, Sheila Tebia, chairwoman of GabrielaHK said, “As overseas foreign workers like Gloria Ortinez, we are quite aware that carrying ammunitions is prohibited under Philippine and Hong Kong laws. Why would we destroy our name and our future in exchange for one bullet?”

She added that domestic workers from the Philippines are also forced to pay excessive amounts for their passports, terminal fees and Overseas Employment Certificates.

The group has launched a petition calling on the Manila International Airport Authority General Manger Jose Angel Honrado to resign over what they say is a growing number of “bullet planting” extortions, also known as tanim bala”.

Jose Angel Honrado did not reply to Coconuts HK’s request for a comment.

Photos: Loryjean Yungco

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