Two Filipino women who are facing charges in Hong Kong for overstaying have expressed their intention to seek asylum on accounts that they are torture victims, an online report said Thursday.
The report on Hong Kong News identified the two as Irene Saturno Agra and Luzviminda Lazaro, who are both charged last December 4 for allegedly breaching the condition of their stay before Shatin Principal Magistrate Andrew Ma.
During the hearing, Agra informed the court that she has filed a torture claim with the Immigration Department, prompting the government to withdraw the case against her, the report said.
Agra, detained but was eventually released, was accused of illegally staying in Hong Kong for two weeks. Her claim is now being assessed by the Immigration Department.
The report said Hong Kong laws allow a person to seek asylum by filing a claim under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
However, Hong Kong authorities have complained that some persons were taking advantage of the system to stay longer in the territory.
On the other hand, the report said Lazaro has also expressed her intention to file a torture claim before the Immigration Department.
But unlike Agra, Lazaro's petition for bail was denied after Ma noted that she has been overstaying in Hong Kong for nine years.
The next hearing for the case was set on December 24, the Hong Kong News report said. —KBK, GMA News