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DH jailed 21 months for burglary, illegal work

30 September 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker was jailed 21 months by a District Court judge on Sept 5 after she pleaded guilty to entering a company in Central and stealing $180,000. She also admitted breaching her condition of stay by working part-time for the firm.

Rochel Rosimo, a 35-year-old mother of two, stood calmly in the dock as Judge Frankie Yiu pronounced his sentence.

Since she had been in jail for seven months before Wednesday’s sentencing, Rosimo will have to spend only 14 more months in jail.

Rosimo was accused of trespassing on Feb 3 this year, along with unknown persons, into the office of Sante Barley (Hong Kong) Ltd. on the 10th floor of Lansing Bldg along Queen’s Road Central and making off with $180,000.

She was also charged of breaching her condition of stay by working as a part-time staff of Sante Barley doing sales reports, inventory counting and cashier customer service. 

The convict said she and another Filipino, Ronato Bagui, were the company’s only staff. 

On the morning of  Feb 3, Rosimo called up Bagui and told him the office had been broken into. Bagui rushed to the office and found the $180,000 cash missing from the box where he had locked it up the previous evening. The money represented sales of health products that the company marketed.

Police examined the building’s CCTV footage on Feb 3 and saw Rosimo, dressed is black and wearing a mask, entering Lansing House at 7:47am and leaving at 7:56 am. They arrested her outside the office on Feb 6 and she admitted to stealing the money.

Cash totaling $15,990 made up of bank notes of different denominations was recovered from her room in Wanchai.

In a video recorded interview on the same evening, Rosimo told police she was instructed by a Filipino couple named Jessica and David to open the office door and tell them where the money was. She said she did as told and the couple entered and took the money.

She said Jessica and David had promised to pay her loan at Public Finance, and indeed paid $6,000 to the lender. They also gave her an additional $10,000 with a promise to repay her loan balance.

The prosecution said there was no trace of Jessica and David. Except for the money recovered in Rosimo’s Wanchai room, the rest of the loot was still missing.

The defense lawyer said in mitigation that Rosimo, who took up an engineering course, came to Hong Kong on an unspecified date in March 2017 to work as a domestic helper. She has an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. Her husband is a construction worker.

The lawyer said Rosimo had taken out a loan to build her family a house.   

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