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Pinoy pickpocket sent to jail for 30 months

18 February 2017

A Filipino tourist who pleaded guilty in December to charges of attempted theft and breach of a deportation order was sentenced to a total of 30 months in jail by a District Court judge.

Jolito Mania, 52, was glum as Judge Bina Chainrai handed down the sentence after delaying it for more than one and a half months to wait for the result of the case of his alleged partner and co-defendant, Marcelo Ortega Jr.

Ortega, who was found not guilty of the charges, has remained in Hong Kong and is reportedly planning to seek compensation from the government for the eight months that he was detained while the case was pending in court.

The defense lawyer asked for a lenient sentence, saying Mania was remorseful, no property was lost, the defendant still has three of his six children going to school and that he wanted to be with his family soon.

But Chainrai said Mania committed the same offense for which he was convicted in 1991 and that he breached his deportation order by changing his identity.

“The sentences will neither be concurrent nor consecutive, but will overlap,” she said.

For the first charge of attempted theft, Mania was sentenced to 12 months in jail. For the second he got a 27-month jail sentence to take effect after the third month of the first sentence, resulting in a total sentence of 30 months imprisonment.

Mania waited since Dec 9 for his sentence as Chainrai said she wanted to wait for the outcome of the trial of his alleged partner, Ortega, before sentencing the first defendant.

Mania and Ortega were arrested on April 25 last year after allegedly trying to pick the wallet of a certain Mr Wong, an MTR passenger who they followed from the Jordan station to Mongkok.

The would-be victim noticed the attempt while Mania had his right hand in Wong’s backpack and called the police. The two suspects were arrested in Cheung Sha Wan Station.

At the start of the hearing on Dec 9, Mania pleaded guilty to both charges laid against him while Ortega pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted theft.

The prosecution said that Mania was issued a deportation order on Mar 2, 1992 after serving a sentence for an earlier theft conviction.

On the second day, Ortega was acquitted of the charge.

About a month later, he approached the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section with a thick wad of forms to fill out for his legal aid application. An ATN officer said he would review Ortega’s application before the latter submits it to the Legal Aid Department. – Vir B. Lumicao

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