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3 other helpers linked to alleged $14.6 million theft

14 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The 3 helpers allegedly helped Nones pawn some of the stolen jewelry
Three Filipina domestic helpers appeared in Eastern Court today, Jul 14, on charges of helping pawn the nearly $15 million dollars worth of jewelry and gold bars that their friend and relative, Carmelita Nones, allegedly stole from her employers.

Maricris G. Nones, said to be Carmelita’s niece; along with Cristina N. Alagna, face 12 charges of handling stolen goods. A third defendant, Marina G. Biala, face one count of the same charge.

All four are being held in custody without bail.

The prosecution told Magistrate Bina Chainrai that it has already consolidated the case against 45-year-old Carmelita, which is expected to go the High Court because of the huge amount involved.

As a result, Carmelita’s guilty plea that she made on Nov 29 last year, when the value of her alleged loot was just over $1 million, was set aside.

The prosecution did not give particulars of the new charges, but merely said it was re-amending the first theft charge against the defendant, and also amended charges 2 and 6. Four other charges were withdrawn.

The prosecutor told Chainrai no plea would be taken from Maricris, Alagna and Biala. She also opposed bail for them, citing the serious nature of their offense. The magistrate upheld the petition.

Chainrai then set the next hearing of the case to Aug 24 in another court, pending its transfer to the Court of First Instance. She told the accused to apply for legal aid before the move.

The magistrate also ordered Carmelita back in custody pending the transfer of her own case to the CFI, said to be the biggest case of theft ever brought against a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong.


Nones was arrested on Sept 4, 2018 after her employer, business executive David Liang, reported to police that two gold Piaget watches worth a total of $200,000 that belonged to him and his wife were stolen between Jul 27 and Aug 11, 2018.

Liang said the watches went missing inside his home at 70 Deepwater Bay Road in Hong Kong Island South. He told the police Nones had admitted taking the watches.

In subsequent hearings, the prosecution said about $1.1 million worth of additional items including gold and diamond necklaces and bracelets belonging to Liang and his wife had been recovered from five pawnshops where Nones had pawned them.

Nones pleaded guilty to the charges, but before Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan could sentence her, a female lawyer for the Liangs arrived and requested the court to wait as more jewelry pieces were said to be missing.

The value of the loot later increased to $4 million, and then $9 million, as more pawnshop receipts in the names of three other persons were recovered by investigators.

The prosecution said then that Nones had asked the three whose names appeared in the pawnshop receipts, to help her dispose of the items.

In the last hearing on Jun 30, the value of the alleged stolen items went up to $14.6 million, as the police reportedly discovered that a total of 200 jewelry items had been  stolen from the Liangs.


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