Bar Operator, Overstayer Admit Selling Liquor

Filipina bar operator Carmen Ortiz, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 to a charge of selling liquor without a license in a bar she was operating in Central.

But she rejected charges of possessing a hoard of liquors for sale and illegally employing two female compatriots.

One of her two alleged employees, Rose Maceda, pleaded guilty to a charge of overstaying her visa. But she and the second staff, Esperanza Villareal, pleaded not guilty to a charge of selling liquor without license.

The prosecutor said Maceda was allowed to remain in Hong Kong until June 28, 2011.

Villareal, on the other hand, had a removal order from the Immigration Department and a recognizance paper, a document issued by the department to torture claimants. A holder of such a document is not allowed to work in Hong Kong.

The three defendants were arrested by two police officers who posed as customers on March 27 as part of  Operation Fanwood, a police crackdown on businesses selling liquor without a license, the prosecution said.

Taking the witness stand, police officer Leung Hoi-kei narrated how he and a colleague, armed with a marked $500 bill, went to Carlan Videoke and asked for a table for two persons.

Leung said Ortiz approached their table and asked if they wanted drinks, and they asked for two bottles of beer worth $20 each. She left and came back with two Corona beers. They were later joined by Villareal and Maceda at the table.

The trial stalled when the magistrate told the lawyer for Villareal that she was not doing proper cross-examination when she asked one of the officers why he let the Filipina join him at the table.

This is going nowhere. This is not the way to cross- examine, the magistrate said.

Wan interrupted the questioning a few more times, at one time saying:

How would you expect him to understand you when I myself can’t understand you?

Two other officers gave evidence for the prosecution during the trial, which was not finished after two days of hearing. The trial was adjourned to Nov. 27. Vir B. Lumicao



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