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Overstayer jailed for $211k theft

05 November 2018

Sentencing was at Eastern court
By Vir B. Lumicao

A former maid has been jailed 9 months and 3 weeks after admitting in Eastern Court that she stole $211,000 worth of diamond jewelry and a tablet computer from her employer, then stayed illegally in Hong Kong for more than three years.

Fedelita R. Sante, 48, cried as Magistrate Peter Law sentenced her on Nov 5 to eight months in jail for theft and one month and three weeks for overstaying, to be served consecutively.

Law said he had discounted the sentences by one-third for the Filipina’s guilty pleas.

“Thank you,” Sante said in between sobs after the sentencing.

The prosecution said that Sante stole a diamond necklace with a diamond pendant, a diamond ring and an iPad Air tablet computer between Jan 6 and Feb 4, 2015 from her employer, Melanie Helene Silvie Viquel.

Investigators valued the necklace with pendant at $200,000, the ring at $5,000 and the tablet at $6,000.

At the time of the offense, Sante was employed as Viquel’s helper in her flat at Sum Way Mansion in Sai Ying Pun. The 37-year-old French employer hired Sante in November 2013.

Sante arrived in Hong Kong on Dec 11, 2013 with a domestic worker visa that was valid until Dec 11, 2014, but she failed to apply for an extension, the prosecutor said.

On Feb 4, 2015, the helper left without notice and became unreachable. When Viquel checked her belongings, she discovered her jewelry and tablet were gone.

After the theft was reported to police, investigators checked with pawnshops and one operator tipped them off that the defendant, who presented her Hong Kong ID card, hocked the necklace and iPad Air in January 2015.

The prosecution said Viquel paid the pawnshop $1,700 to recover the pawned items. Police returned the necklace to the victim and kept the tablet for examination. The only unrecovered item was the $5,000 diamond ring.
  
Sante went underground while she was hunted down by the police. She was arrested on Oct 5 for overstaying when she surrendered at 3:27pm to Immigration officers at Skyline Tower in Kowloon Bay.

Officers who ran a record check then discovered she was wanted for theft. 

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