Filipina Helper in HK Who Kept Employer’s ‘Discarded’ Bags Accused of Theft

Planning to keep items that employers apparently thrown away? Make sure they’re declared discarded or face the law for theft.

A Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong who kept for herself two shoulder bags allegedly discarded by her female employer is now being tried in court on a charge of theft, The SUN reported.

Rosanna Ranola, in her 40s, was accused of theft by employer Lam Ka-wai, who testified before Tuen Mun Court she discovered the theft on October 4, during an argument with the maid.

Lam said that she noticed the helper’s performance deteriorate as the family moved from a flat in Tai Wai to a bigger apartment in The Oakwoods in Yuen Long in February last year. Ranola reportedly started to complain about having more work to do and failed to understand instructions such as preparing food.

The argument on the night of Oct. 4 started when Lam asked the Ranola why she did not wash her daughter’s school uniform. The maid then said she wanted to quit. When the employer said she could only leave on Nov. 2 owing to a month’s notice, but Ranola said she wants to leave immediately.

The maid ran into her room and began calling her friends. When the employer followed her, she saw her suitcase has been packed and another bag half-full. She then ordered for the bags to be brought to the living room and opened them. Lam said she saw her yellow canvass and leather shoulder bag worth HK$1,500 wrapped in the maid’s clothes and buried under a pile of stacked clothing.

When Lam asked why she took the bag, the helper said the employer gave it to her, then changed her reply, “You threw it away.”

Further examination of the luggage yielded a brown leather bag, which Lam said she bought for HK$1,500. The bag was likewise wrapped in garment and hidden under piles of clothing.

Ranola, who was hired by Lam in May 2016, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

When the defense lawyer asked Lam when was the last time she saw her bags, the woman said it was during the time they moved apartments. Lam added that she did not discard the bags because they were not worn out as she only used them twice a year.

The lawyer also asked why she wanted the defendant to stay when she was not satisfied with her performance, Lam said she needed Ranola’s services because her daughter was still a minor who needed someone to look after her while Lam is at work.

The lawyer then played back in court a voice recording made by Ranola of a woman screaming at the maid for not understanding cookbook instructions on preparing “easy food” and instead cooked “crazy food.”

The counsel also asked Lam why she told the defendant to dial 999 after discovering the missing bags, but took the phone from the helper and instead talked to the police herself.

“You did not give the defendant a chance to talk to the police,” the lawyer said.

Two other witnesses are due to give evidence when the trial resumes on Feb 15, The SUN reported.