Hong Kong Coroner’s Court is investigating the death of a migrant domestic worker in 2017

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A four-person jury is due to begin deliberations in an inquest into the death of a Filipina domestic worker who died in Hong Kong in 2017.

Leonita Arcillas Quinto, who arrived in Hong Kong in December 2016, died on April 4, 2017. The 46-year-old was found unconscious in her room at her employer’s house around noon and was pronounced dead at Princess Margaret Hospital later in the day. .

West Kowloon Courthouse building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The inquest into Quinto’s death, which began last Tuesday, continued on Tuesday before a four-person jury in Coroner’s Court at the West Kowloon Courthouse.

Scheduled to last seven days, the inquest entered its final phase when the court heard closing remarks from lawyers, as well as instructions to the jury from coroner Stanley Ho.

Complaints about working conditions

During the investigation, Quinto’s younger sister testified via video interview that the 46-year-old had complained about her working conditions, saying her employer often asked her to work until midnight, and that ‘she had to wake up at 3 a.m. to pack school kits. for the children of his employer.

The younger sister also testified that Quinto said her employer often scolded her, causing “tremendous stress.” Quinto once said that “his heart felt like it was exploding,” the court heard.

The employer was also accused of forbidding Quinto to change his sanitary products during the measurement, instead requiring Quinto to do so in a public restroom.

Young Quinto also told the court that her older sister was only invited to eat after she had completed all her chores and that the 46-year-old often bought her own cookies and milk because she did not trust her. food provided by his employer.

A friend of Quinto’s, Mananquil Rio Borlasa, also testified in court, saying she met Quinto in early 2017. Borlasa said Quinto often had his shoulders down and walked slowly, adding that she was “visibly” weak.

Prior to working in Hong Kong, Quinto worked in Bahrain and Singapore. The 46-year-old suffered from meningitis when she was 20. Quinto also underwent two surgeries to remove cysts from his back and chest.

Stanley Ho Chun-yiu.

The court also heard testimony from Mr Lee, the owner of domestic worker employment agency Popular Employment Services, who said Quinto called him once to complain about his working conditions.

Quinto decided to terminate his contract in March, with a month’s notice from his employer. She died before she could return home to the Philippines.

Lee said Quinto and her employer went to her office to handle the proceedings, during which Quinto again complained about her working conditions. Lee testified that the employer, Wong, “scolded loudly” and said the 46-year-old’s job was unsatisfactory.

Testimonials from employers and doctors

Wong and her husband, Hui, did not appear in court as they left Hong Kong in February. The couple’s written statements were read out in court. The coroner, when instructing the jury on Tuesday, told them not to speculate as to why the employers did not testify in court.

According to Wong’s testimony, Quinto stayed home after making breakfast on April 4, 2017. Wong said she reminded the 46-year-old at around 7:30 a.m. that it was a public holiday and that she therefore had a day off. , and Quinto, his back turned to Wong, waved at him from the bed.

Around 11 a.m., Hui told Wong to call the police after finding Quinto unconscious in her room after she didn’t answer his knocks on the door.

The court also heard from two doctors. Medical Examiner Ng Chung-ki, who performed Quinto’s autopsy, said there was no explanation for the 46-year-old’s sudden death and that Quinto’s organs appeared to be functioning normally.

Another doctor, Philip Beh, testified in court that Quinto showed no obvious signs of starvation and there was no evidence to suggest Quinto died of malnutrition.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

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