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Maid gets 6 months for stealing $7,000 from employer

10 November 2017

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Bautista was sentenced at Kowloon City court

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker was sentenced to six months in jail on Oct 31 in Kowloon City Court for stealing close to $7,000 from her employer in September.

Rochelle B. Bautista, 33, was arrested on Sept 25 after her employer, Ms Lee, reported to police that she had lost 2,000 renminbi, US$100 and $3,000 in a plastic envelope she had kept in a red suitcase in her flat at The Waterfront in Tsimshatsui.

The missing money was equivalent to $6,850. Police recovered the missing $700 from the maid’s belongings. 

Bautista, who had been employed by Lee since April this year, was released on police bail following the investigation.

The prosecution said the stolen money was part of 5,700 renminbi, $7,000 and US$400 placed in five envelopes that Lee wrapped in a plastic bag and kept in the locked suitcase before she left the house on the morning of Sept 25.

When she returned in the evening, she found out only 3,700 renminbi, $4,000 and US$300 were left, prompting her to review the CCTV footage. There she saw Bautista forcing the suitcase open with a pen and taking out the plastic bag containing the money.

The prosecution said the maid was unaware of the closed-circuit TV camera.

Magistrate Peter Law convicted Bautista after she pleaded guilty to the charge in a hearing on Oct 26.

“Stealing from your employer is a serious offense. It’s a breach of trust she placed on you,” Law told Bautista.

But Law delayed the sentencing after the duty lawyer assigned to represent Bautista asked him to issue a compensation order, as the defendant allegedly wanted to compensate her employer for the 2,000 renminbi and US$100.

“The court does not accept foreign currencies. So go to the money shop and exchange you money for Hong Kong dollars,” Law told the defendant. He reset the sentencing.

Later, Law said that even though Bautista had compensated the victim, she had committed a serious offense.

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