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U.S. to deport Taiwan envoy who abused Filipina maids

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2012 4:14 PM
U.S. to deport Taiwan envoy who abused Filipina maids

(Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge ordered the deportation on Friday of a high-ranking official from Taiwan who pleaded guilty last year to human trafficking charges for abusing her two Filipina maids, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Hsien-Hsien Liu, the 64-year-old director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested in November and charged with fraud in foreign labor contracting in connection with her treatment of the two maids.

Liu ultimately admitted to forcing the two women, whom she hired in the Philippines and brought to work for her in the United States between 2009 and 2011, to toil day and night for significantly less pay than promised in their contracts.

U.S. District Judge Greg Kays sentenced Liu, who has been in custody since her arrest, to time served and ordered her deported back to Taiwan as part of a plea deal.

Prosecutors said Liu told one of the women she would pay her $1,240 a month to work eight hours a day, five days a week -- but only paid her $450 a month and forced her to work 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

She also installed surveillance cameras inside her home in Johnson County, Kansas, to monitor the woman, did not allow her to leave without supervision or permission, and seized her passport and visa and refused to return them.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, Liu also warned the woman she "was friends with local law enforcement and well known in the community, so if the (female victim) acted out, she would be deported."

Liu pleaded guilty to the charges last November.

In addition to the deportation order, the judge also ordered Liu to pay $80,044 in restitution to the women, as well as an as-yet unspecified fine, and to cover the full costs of her incarceration and deportation, including round-trip airfare for the U.S. immigration agents who escort her back to Taiwan.

Liu's two former maids are eligible for T-visas, designed to help victims of human trafficking who cooperate with prosecutors. The visas will allow them to live and work legally in the United States and to apply for permanent residency after three years, the U.S. attorney's office said.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)