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US expels Taiwanese official for abuse of 2 Filipinas

/ 04:43 AM February 17, 2012

CHICAGO—A Taiwanese official who pleaded guilty to charges of mistreating two Filipino housekeepers working in her Missouri home has been deported, the US Justice Department said Wednesday.

Liu Hsien-hsien, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, “has been deported and has arrived in Taiwan,” a Justice Department statement said.

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Liu was arrested in November for allegedly treating the Filipinas like slaves. She soon reached a plea deal with prosecutors that allowed her to avoid spending up to five years in prison on a charge of fraud in foreign labor contracting.

Judge Greg Kays sentenced Liu to time served on a fraud charge and ordered her to pay $80,044 in restitution to the housekeepers.

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She was also ordered to pay a fine of $11,040 to cover the full costs of her incarceration and deportation.

Threat

The case came to light after one of the housekeepers sought help from a Filipino she met at the grocery store.

She told him that Liu had taken away her passport, told her she was not allowed to leave the house without permission, made her work 16 to 18 hour days at a quarter of the agreed wages, monitored her with video surveillance cameras and restricted when she could sleep.

Liu also allegedly told the woman that if she “acted out, she would be deported” because Liu was “friends with local law enforcement and known well in the community,” charging papers said.

A previous housekeeper “went into a state of depression and stopped eating” as a result of the physical and verbal abuse, prosecutors said, citing testimony by an unnamed witness.

The two housekeepers were certified as “victims of a severe form of human trafficking” and will receive government support for a visa which would allow them to legally remain and work in the United States, prosecutors said.

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The Taipei mission, which has several offices around the United States, serves as a de facto embassy.

Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but has remained a key ally and a leading arms supplier to the island.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

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TAGS: abuse, Deportation, Filipinas, housekeepers, Philippines, Taiwan, US
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