A Hong Kong court sentenced a Filipino domestic worker to 15 months in prison after she was found guilty of a charge of stealing HK$162,000 worth of jewelry and cash from her employer, Hong Kong News reported.
When the maid, surnamed Perdido, however entered a guilty plea, acting principal magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing reduced the sentenced to 10 months.
According to the defense lawyer, Perdido incurred a debt of HK$40,000 from a lending company after her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
The defendant, 39, and married, was seen crying in the dock as the magistrate read the sentence.
The prosecution alleged that between August 2013 and May 31, 2017, the defendant stole HK$300 from a lai see red packet, and jewels namely seven pieces of bracelets, one pair of earrings, seven pieces of necklaces, one ring, two pieces of wrist chains, and pendants. The total value of these items was HK$162,000.
The employer, 41, placed the items inside a locked cabinet in her bedrom, while the lock’s key was in a box placed on a desk.
On on the morning of May 31, the employer discovered that six red packets containing money and pieces of jewelry were missing from the cabinet. When sought by her employer, Perdido admitted that she stole the case and jewelry. She also produced four pawnshop receipts and told her employer that she pawned the jewels. The employer then called police and Perdido was arrested.
Subsequent search revelaed 12 other pawnshop tickets. It was later known that jewels were pawned between October 2016 and April 2017. The employer paid to recover some jewels, whose total value were $128,000, but $34,000-worth of other items were not recovered.
In mitigation, the defendant’s lawyer said Perdido has two sons and one daughter in the Philippines. She sends HK$2,000 to the family monthly, and, when the defendant’s grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, the “expenses increased.”
“Her salary was not enough for medical expenses. She owed a debt of $40,000 to a finance company, and she still had to contribute HK$1,000 to HK$1,100 to her family,” the lawyer said.