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Filipina who hocked employer’s earrings says she found them in rubbish bin

09 December 2019

Defendant says she didn't know that the diamond earrings she pawned
were her employer's (photo for illustration only)

By Vir B. Lumicao
A Filipina maid accused of stealing a pair of diamond earrings from her female employer in 2018 has said during trial in Eastern Court that she found the jewelry in a rubbish bin.

The two-day trial was wrapped on Dec 9 by Magistrate Vivian Ho, who reserved her verdict for Dec 30.

Agnes Cocjin told the court that she found the earrings wrapped in tissue paper when she threw away garbage in the common rubbish bin outside the backdoor of her employer’s flat on Nov 7 last year.
She denied the accusation that she took the earrings two days earlier while helping another maid pack the luggage of their employer, Ms. Liu, who was leaving for a trip abroad the next day.

Cocjin said she kept the earrings after finding them because she did not know at the time who owned them, and was not aware of their value.

She said that one time she saw a neighbor’s Indonesian maid dump refuse that included similar ornaments. 
On Nov 14, Cocjin went to a pawnshop and showed the earrings to a staff, who told her she could pawn the jewelry for up to $3,000, and she did.

Liu, who gave evidence earlier, said she discovered during her trip that the earrings were missing from her jewelry box that the other maid, Melanie, had packed for her on the eve of her departure.

Returning to Hong Kong a week later, the employer told Melanie about her missing earrings. She dismissed the helper on Nov 27 when the jewelry was not found in the house to let her take responsibility for the loss.

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Cocjin confessed to Liu later that she had found a pair of earrings in the rubbish bin outside the backdoor and, not knowing that it was hers, hocked them for $3,000.

Liu said she was shocked and disappointed because she had found Cocjin to be an honest employee who did not touch money lying around in the flat.

The employer reported the case to the police and Cocjin was arrested on Nov 30 last year.

In her testimony, the Filipina said her plan was to redeem the pawned earrings when she received her salary and would show them to Melanie to find out if they were Liu’s missing jewelry.

When asked why she didn’t tell the employer immediately about the pawned earrings, Cocjin said she was confused.

In summing up the case, the defense lawyer said the prosecution was not able to prove the alleged theft as it could not show when, where, and how Cocjin stole the earrings. He said it was an “opportunity” case.

The lawyer said that granting that the defendant had picked up the jewelry in the rubbish bin, that would be theft by finding.

Magistrate Ho adjourned the case until Dec 30 and extended Cocjin’s bail until then.
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