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DH in handbag theft case chooses trial over settlement

04 July 2018

A longer court battle looms for a Filipina domestic worker who had been falsely accused by her Hong Kong employer of stealing two discarded handbags when she insisted on claiming damages totaling nearly $29,000 from the latter.

Rosana Rañola and bank executive Lam Ah Wai Ammy failed to reach agreement before Labour Tribunal officer David Chum on Jun 20, so the case will have to go to trial.

The case will be heard again on Sept 17. 

Chum spent most of the court’s morning session reviewing both parties’ cases and trying to convince them to settle.

Hopes of a breakthrough emerged when Lam agreed to pay Rañola one month’s wage in lieu of notice, one of two issues remaining in their stand-off.

But the deal got stuck again when Rañola insisted on claiming $28,908 in damages for loss of income and breach of trust and confidence after Lam accused her of theft on Oct 4 last year.

The Filipina complained that her former employer did not want to pay for her expenses while her police case was pending, and she was not allowed to work.

“It is not her fault that you had to face a criminal case. It should be the police and the Department of Justice that you ask to pay because they filed a case against you,” Chum said.

Chum said that while the helper can ask for a higher amount, her claim is difficult to prove. He warned that the maid could lose everything after trial, and still be made to pay for court costs.

But the stalemate continued even after Chum called for a break.

When they returned, Chum instructed both parties to prepare their evidence for the trial. He also told Rañola to write a statement about her case against Lam. – Vir B. Lumicao

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