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Filipina DH now accused of stealing $9-M worth of jewelry from employers

19 May 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Gold bars were among the items allegedly stolen by Nones from her employers

The value of jewelry allegedly stolen by a Filipina domestic helper from her employer has been raised to a staggering $9 million from $1million, as the hearing of the case resumed at Eastern Court today, May 19.

The prosecution said this was after more than 70 additional pieces of jewelry were added to the alleged loot by Carmelita Nones, who used to work for business executive David Liang and his wife.

Nones, who has been in custody since her arrest on Sept 4 last year, was in court for the hearing of what ranks as the biggest theft case ever brought against a foreign domestic worker in Hong Kong.

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Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai was told by the prosecution that the additional items consisted of gold and diamond necklaces, bracelets and gold bars belonging to Liang and his wife that had been recovered from five pawnshops.

Some of the jewelry pieces were pawned in the names of three other persons whom the defendant had allegedly asked to hock the items. The earlier items mentioned in the charge sheet were allegedly pawned by Nones herself.

Police have already taken statements from the three witnesses, who claimed they had no knowledge of the source of the jewelry, the prosecutor said.
The prosecution said that because of the large amount of stolen jewelry, it would need six weeks to finalize the breakdown of the loot, decide on a trial venue, and seek further legal advice. 

The case is likely to be transferred to the Court of First Instance because of the big value of the jewelry allegedly stolen by Nones.

The case could be transferred to the High Court because of the large amount involved

However, Nones’ court-appointed counsel, barrister Mohammed Shah, objected to the adjournment, saying the prosecution had already asked for a postponement a number of times.

Chainrai replied that it was because additional items were found to be missing.

Shah also said he objected to how the prosecution panel handled the case in relation to the second witness, Liang’s wife.


Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.
 

He noted that during the Nov 29 hearing, Nones tried to plead guilty to stealing various jewelry items from Liang and his wife, but a private lawyer for the couple arrived and said more theft charges could be filed against her. That prompted Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan to set aside Nones’ guilty plea. 

He also reminded Chainrai that on Mar 20, she adjourned the case for the prosecution to finalize the breakdown of the stolen properties, inquiries and legal advice.

“There were five previous hearings when the prosecution applied for adjournment. I hope this will be the last adjournment,” Shah said.

Chainrai adjourned the case until Jun 30 for plea, as well as finalization of legal advice and venue for the trial. She also ordered Nones remanded in custody.

Nones was initially charged with stealing two gold Piaget watches worth a total of $200,000 between Jul 27 and Aug 11 last year, following her arrest in the Liangs' luxury flat at 70 Deepwater Bay Road in Hong Kong Island South. 

Police later found five more stolen jewelry pieces in the pawnshop where Nones had allegedly hocked the watches, while four other missing items were reportedly found in her handbag.

She offered to plead guilty to a charge of theft, but the alleged discovery of more items led prosecution to ask for the case to be adjourned a couple of times.

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