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DH locked up 21 months for burglary, illegal work

08 September 2018

A Filipina domestic worker has been jailed 21 months in jail by a District Court judge on Sept 5 after she pleaded guilty to charges of burgling a firm in Central in February and taking $180,000, and breaching her condition of stay by working part-time for the firm.

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

The judge gave the convict a discounted 20 months for burglary and a shortened sentence of 2 months for breach of condition of stay, with the latter to be served starting on the 19th month of the first sentence.

District Court.
Having been detained for seven months before Wednesday’s sentencing, Rosimo will have to spend only 14 more months in jail.

Rosimo was originally 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 with breaching her condition of stay to work only as a domestic worker by taking up employment with the company.

In an amended charge read in court on Sept 5, the prosecution said Rosimo told police investigators in her sworn statement that she worked as a part-time administrative staff of Sante Barley doing sales reports, inventory counting and cashier customer service. 

The convict said she and another Filipino, Ronato Bagui, were Sante Barley’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 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 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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