HK teen's death reveals family's long-kept secrets
On April 7, 2015, 15-year-old Blanca Cousins jumped to her death from her apartment building's 19th floor in Hong Kong. Read her story here.
During the early hours of April 7, 2015, 15-year-old Blanca Cousins jumped to her death from her apartment building’s 19th floor in Hong Kong. A security guard had heard a loud thud and found Blanca’s body lying in front of the exclusive apartment building. No foul play was suspected.
Blanca, born to Briton Nick Cousins and to his Filipino partner, Herminia Garcia, was the eldest of two girls and is described by friends to be a “lovely” and “cheerful” girl.
However, many expressed shock when investigations revealed that Blanca and her sister’s births were not registered in the Hong Kong system and that they had never attended formal school.
Blanca, who had a wide circle of friends in the expatriate community and who was a member of the Hong Kong Pony Club, told friends that she and her sister attended an American school which would explain why they were never seen in school uniforms.
The truth of the matter was, Blanca and her sister were receiving instruction at a private tutoring center.
According to reports, Herminia Garcia, better known as Grace Cousins, entered Hong Kong in the early 1990s as a domestic helper. She then met Nick Cousins, became his partner and took on his last name even if they were never legally married.
Herminia Garcia continued to reside in Hong Kong for 20 years despite having entered as a visitor and is believed to have given birth to her daughters in a private hospital.
Despite growing up in luxury and leading a relatively normal life, it is suspected that because she had no legal documents, Blanca was troubled by her “lack of an identity” as she was unable “to attend school, travel abroad or receive medical treatment – unless paid for privately.”
Speculations have been made that this may have been the main reason behind the teen jumping to her death.
As a result, not only is Herminia accused of overstaying, but she has also been charged with “ill-treatment or neglect” and is currently free on bail until June. Nick Cousins, on the other hand, has been accused of “aiding and abetting an overstayer” but has yet to be charged.
Hong Kong police also applied for a “care and protection order” for Blanca’s 14-year-old sister, but she has been returned home pending a second court hearing.
While a blanket of mystery still shrouds the circumstances leading to Blanca’s fatal fall, we can’t help but wonder why her parents opted to let their children grow up in Hong Kong without proper documentation for residency.
Especially since despite their mother’s visa status, reports state that with Nick Cousins presumably a legal permanent resident of Hong Kong, had he registered his daughters’ births, they could have been legal residents.
One can speculate that the Cousins refused to undergo due process out of fear of exposing Herminia’s overstaying. But in the end, their playing hide-and-seek with Hong Kong authorities for 20 years has doled out tragic consequences.
Click Continue Reading to know what Filipino moms think of the situation.
In line with the Cousins currently being under investigation with regards to Herminia’s immigration status, theAsianparent.com asked readers:
If given the chance to live a luxurious and comfortable life abroad with your children and with a loving partner, but as illegal residents, would you still opt to live abroad or would you rather stay in the Philippines?
Via our Facebook page, we gathered the following responses from Filipino moms:
- This mom opted to stay in the Philippines vs. playing hide-and-seek in another country:
- While this mom chose to stay in the Philippines for peace of mind:
- This mom chose to stay in the Philippines for the sake of being able to parent her children right:
- One mom after another chose to stay in the Philippines:
How about you? We would love to know what your answer is to the question. Leave your answers in the comment section below.
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