Police urged to step up inquiry into mystery death of Filipino

Other News Materials 23 April 2008 10:59 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Police were being urged Wednesday to step up an investigation into the death of a Filipino maid who was found drowned after fleeing her Hong Kong employer's house barefoot in pyjamas.

Vicenta Flores, known as Vicky, was last seen alive on the evening of April 6. Her body was discovered floating off Lantau Island's Tung Chung Pier five days later.

A postmortem examination revealed she had drowned and said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

But it has caused concern among Hong Kong's population of Filipino domestic helpers who have set up the "Justice For Vicky Concern Group," demanding police step up the investigation.

The group is also made up of residents of the Discovery Bay neighbourhood, where Flores had worked for the same employer for 12 years.

Police said Wednesday that her employer, named Lee, had hired a car to look for her after she fled the house. He reported her missing one day later.

Witnesses claimed they saw Flores trying to board a bus about one hour after she fled but was turned away by the driver because she did not have the fare.

Flores, 31, was the youngest of eight children who, like many domestic helpers, had come to Hong Kong to earn money to provide for her family back in the Philippines.

Her sister Irene Flores-Reguis, also a domestic helper in Hong Kong, has pleaded for witnesses to come forward to help with the investigation.

Civic Party district councillor Amy Yung urged the police to give the case top priority.

"Quite a lot of people are worried," she said. "This is a very important case as it involves the life of young lady who had been working here for 12 years with the same employer."

The Justice for Vicky group plans to hold a rally Sunday, calling on the police and the Philippine consulate to give the investigation into her death priority.

Hong Kong has more than 220,000 foreign maids, mostly from the Philippines, who work for a minimum wage of 3,480 Hong Kong dollars (440 US dollars) a month.