Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Missing Filipina killed by watchman in 'revenge'

Dubai: A Filipina expatriate whose father had requested help to locate her after pictures were circulated on social media was murdered by a watchman, police said on Monday.

Lenlie Silpao Oliverio, 26, was murdered on February 19 by the watchman of her building who was arrested within 24 hours, an officer said.

The suspect has been transferred to the public prosecution.

On Monday, Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Chief, said police investigation points to evidence that the Filipina was killed by her building’s watchman, who had a verbal altercation with her on the same day she died.

“On Thursday, February 19, the operations room received a call around 7pm from an Asian man saying that his friend who lives with him was murdered in their apartment,” he said.

The crime was committed in an area that was under Al Rashidiya police station’s jurisdiction.

The Asian man, who had just returned from work, found Oliverio stabbed multiple times and the apartment ransacked.

Teams from Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department and General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology rushed to the scene and started their investigation.

Maj Gen Al Mazeina said the Asian man, who lived with the victim, said that he had last seen the victim in the morning before going to work, adding that the victim had also spoken to him around midday asking him to buy some things for the house.

He said, “Initially there were no obvious signs as to who could have committed the crime. Teams started looking into people who knew the victim, the victim’s flat-mate, people who live in the building and in nearby shops.”

Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said, “The way the victim was stabbed led us to deduct that revenge could be the reason behind her murder.”

He said that although the watchman was helping out the victim’s friend, and facilitating access to residents while police were in the building, policemen suspected him due to his body language.

“Our teams, who are trained in reading body language, suspected the watchman, although he had no wounds or marks that could link him to the murder. He was taken in for questioning at the Criminal Investigation Department, where he confessed to the crime,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.

He said they tested the watchman’s DNA against biological evidence found at the crime scene, which tested positive, linking the man to the crime.

Maj Al Mansouri said the suspect claimed that he was cleaning the floors of the building that morning at around 9am when the victim walked by and spilt the water bucket he was using to clean, after which a heated argument ensued.

“The suspect confessed that he then got a knife, went to her apartment at around 2pm and told her that there was a problem with the fire alarm. So she let him in. When she did, he said he grabbed her, put his hand over her mouth and stabbed her multiple times until he was sure she was dead,” he said.

The suspect then told the police that he cleaned his clothes, closed the door and carried on with his day. Police declined to reveal the number of stab wounds.

Police said the suspect had only been in the country for around two months, where he worked with the same company but in a different building in another emirate.
He had only started working at the victim’s building 10 days before the crime.

Lt Col Adel Al Joker, Head of Investigation at Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said that the attention from Maj Gen Al Mazeina and Maj Gen Al Mansouri and their presence at the scene helped catch the suspect in such a short time.

“As soon as he knew the initial details of the murder, Maj Gen Al Mazeina said that the suspect is someone from the building — not an outsider.” Lt Col Al Joker said, adding that this is an isolated incident, and that Dubai Police are always prepared to thwart any criminal attempts.

He said Dubai Police did not reveal the details of the crime until all the procedures were completed.

Family mourns
Earlier Gulf News reported that Eddie Oliverio, Lenlie’s father, was worried about his daughter who was living in Dubai.

Oliverio said his neighbours showed him a Facebook post bearing his daughter’s picture and a text that read: “Justice for Lenlie Silpao Oliverio”, followed by a caption that said Lenlie was brutally murdered in Dubai.

The Philippines consulate officials confirmed the woman’s death on February 24.

Lenlie is survived by her parents and two children, aged 10 and 5.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tampering with passports can land you in jail, Filipinos warned

Dubai: Philippine Consulate officials on Tuesday warned Filipinos against resorting to “fixers” and tampering with their passports by getting fake passport extensions — an act that could land them in jail.

The Philippine consulate stopped extending the validity of passports for the purpose of residency visa stamping and travel purposes this January. The embassy followed suit in February. Exemptions were given, however, to passport holders with emergencies such as death in the family, medical or legal emergency.

Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said two cases of passport tampering had been reported to his office over the past two weeks.

In both cases, the passports had been stamped with an extension of one year with a “signature” of a consul currently working at the consulate.

“We’re no longer extending passports unless in emergency cases. This stamp is fake,” Cortes told the media.

“His [passport holder] employer called us and asked us if we were still extending passports and I said no,” Cortes said, adding the employer became suspicious and sent him the passport for evaluation.

Consul Ferdinand Flores, whose signature appears on the fake stamp, confirmed that the signature was forged. Upon close scrutiny, the signature is actually part of the stamp itself and was not manually signed on the passport page.

“They used a real person but have the wrong signature,” Flores said.

Deputy Consul-General Giovanni Palec said extending passports for visa purposes no longer makes sense because passports are now processed and delivered in a matter of two to three weeks. Resorting to tampering will only endanger the passport holder.

“The warning is, once you have a false stamp, it nullifies the whole passport. [The passport holder] is in violation of the Philippine Passport Law. That puts him at more risk, legally speaking,” Palec said.

In the UAE, a person who forges a travel document such as a passport and uses it could face between one month and five years in jail, depending on the judge’s decision, according to the UAE Penal Code.

Cortes said the spouse of the passport holder paid Dh700 to a “fixer” outside the consulate for the service.

In reality, if a person needs to extend his passport, he only needs to pay Dh80 for the normal service, and Dh120 for an expedited one. Renewing passports cost Dh240.

Cortes said they will refer the matter to the police for investigation. Consul officials will also give specimen signatures to the immigration if necessary.

Cortes urged Filipinos to only deal with consulate officials wearing proper identification inside the consulate. He also advised them to apply for passport renewal ahead of time, even a year before their passport expires, to avoid any inconvenience.


Friday, February 12, 2016

QA: Can former UAE resident with debts transit through Dubai, Abu Dhabi airports?

I have read an answer of yours about expatriates who have worked in the UAE and have outstanding debts. The article was about people who transit through the UAE to another destination and do not actually go out of the airport or through immigration. I have debt on a credit card, and although not a large amount it is a nightmare to pay it off when not living in the UAE. Even trying to pay the money over the counter at a branch of the bank outside of the UAE has obstacles. Can you confirm that the law is still the same in relation to transiting through the UAE? And how does the passport situation work? Since leaving the UAE I have renewed my passport, as the old one ran out, so would my new passport details be on the UAE system? JC, UK


There are two separate issues here. If a person is transiting through an airport, they do not technically enter the country and pass through immigration, but there is still a risk, especially if a flight is delayed and they are then asked to exit the airport. If someone with a police case registered against them tries to go through immigration, it is likely they will be arrested. That can still happen with a new passport, as a person can be identified by name and date of birth.

Branches of banks in different countries can operate quite separately, and although it is not usually possible to make a deposit over the counter in another currency, it is possible to make an online transfer to the relevant account in respect of the debt. JC would be advised to contact HSBC in the UAE to make arrangements to repay the debt through online transfer. Once the debt is repaid he can then ask the bank to cancel a police case to avoid future problems when travelling.


Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only