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Filipina DH ‘shocked’ when rings found in her backpack

15 July 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic helper has claimed in court of being shocked when her employer pulled out a diamond ring from the pocket of her backpack on Apr. 24.

Jeambreth Algura made the statement during her trial in Kwun Tong court on Jul 10 on a charge of theft for allegedly stealing two diamond rings owned by her employer, Lau Yi-ki.

Kwun Tong court 
Magistrate Chu Chung-keung reserved judgment on the case to Jul 23.

Algura who took the witness stand on the second day of her trial, told the court that Lau, who had been suffering from stress, sent her on an errand on Apr 24. When she came back, she noticed that her umbrella, which she usually put in the pocket of her backpack, was in the wrong place.

She also saw two police officers in the flat, and they told her she was being investigated for the loss of her employer’s two rings. Algura said she was not told by her employer that some rings were missing.

The maid then said she saw Lau opening her luggage and spilling all her personal belongings onto the living room floor, while her husband and the officers watched.

The employer then opened her backpack and also spilled its contents on the floor, Algura said.

Then the woman knelt, took something from underneath and lifted her left hand, saying: “This one! This one!” Algura said she saw one ring.

When one of the officers took the ring and went over to the employer’s husband, she said she noticed there were two rings. The officer approached Algura and asked her how the rings got into her backpack.

She said she did not know what to say because she was wondering how the rings got into the backpack.

“I was shocked,” she said when she was asked how she felt being suspected of stealing.

Upon cross-examination by the prosecution lawyer, Algura mentioned she was told once by the elder son of Lau, who lived in a separate unit,  that his mother wanted to take revenge on her because his younger brother was closer to the maid than their mother.

On Jul 10, the younger son, Ching-chun, gave evidence for the defense.  When asked about Algura’s performance, he said: “She is very helpful. In fact, she is very honest, even if she broke something, she would communicate with me immediately.”

He said Algura has been with serving the family 6-7 years. “She was very honest and a nice person,” he said, adding he was very close to her. The 16-year-old was only 8 when Algura took up her employment with the family in Yau Tong.

The young Lau said when the officers arrested Algura, he was very concerned about her. Asked by the prosecutor if he showed his concern for Algura to his parents, he said yes.

Algura was remanded in custody after the hearing. Chu had previously refused her bail application and so has the Court of First Instance. She has been in detention since Apr 24.

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