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DH accused of theft claims she lost money in employer’s house

26 June 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The accused maid said in court that she herself lost money in her employer's  house

A Filipina domestic helper accused of stealing 1,700 renminbi from her female employer in December 2018 said she herself lost $1,500 that she kept in her bag inside the employer’s house in Mid-Levels.

Giving evidence on the second day of a retrial of her case in Eastern Court today, Jun 26, Ana Liezel Berbana said she had saved the money to buy presents before going home that month for an elder sister’s wedding.

The 35-year-old defendant said during questioning by her counsel Philip Ross that the money was still in the bag when she last checked it on Dec 10, 2018.


Pindutin para sa detalye
She said she had kept her bag in the house of her employer, Wong Ma-nger, on Caine Road in Mid-Levels. “I found out I lost my money on the 20th, but on Dec 17 it was still in the bag,” she said.

Berbana, a farmer’s single daughter who finished one semester in a BS Nursing course, came to Hong Kong to work for Wong and her family on Aug 21, 2015.

Previously, she worked for two years as a domestic worker in Jordan, and then as a tutor and later, teaching assistant in the United Arab Emirates.   
Through Ross’ questioning, the defendant described a working relationship with the Wongs in which she served six adults including the employer’s elder son Ming and his wife Victoria, the younger son Wesley and his girlfriend Ellen.

Berbana said Ming and Victoria moved out of the parents’ Caine Rd house to a flat on Conduit Rd, also in Mid-Levels, when Victoria was pregnant. They returned to Wong’s house after the baby was born so the grandmother could help look after the baby.

Ming and his family moved back to the Conduit Rd flat when a nanny they hired arrived, but the defendant was still ordered to go there every day to clean the house and help nurse the baby.
On Nov 16, 2016, she said her relations with Wesley soured when he asked her about a Hermes scarf that his girlfriend Ellen had left in the Conduit Rd and allegedly went missing.

In March the next year, Wesley again asked Berbana about a blue dress that Ellen could not find. He brought up the blue dress again in August of 2018, and this time, accused her of stealing it. 

The employer’s son also allegedly accused her of stealing money from his father.
Berbana denied in court that she stole all the items Wesley accused her of taking.

At her lawyer’s questioning, she also denied charges that she stole Rmb1,700 from Wong on Dec 21, 2018.

Berbana said Wong agreed to pay all her Labour Tribunal claims after the presiding officer foiled the employer’s insistence to deduct $4,000 for a loan she supposedly made to the helper.

Despite this, Berbana said her former employer filed a claim against her at the Small Claims Tribunal to claim back the $4,000.

Ross had accused Wong during cross examination of  “stealing” from the maid by deducting $4,000 from her Labour Tribunal settlement.   

Also giving evidence before Berbana took the stand were two male police officers who searched her belongings and arrested her on the night of Dec 21, 2018 after Wong reported the alleged theft.

The officers testified finding the missing money from Berbana’s black jacket that had been hanging on a rod in her room.

The prosecutor began her cross-examination of the defendant by asking her why she had vivid details of the police search of her jacket. The maid appeared unprepared for the question, with the prosecutor saying twice that she didn’t answer the question.

The trial will resume on Jul 23.


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