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Filipina helper acquitted of stealing ring from socialite employer

28 January 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

Chua Eh Fong gave police mere segments of a CCTV recording of the alleged theft

A Filipina helper was acquitted today, Jan 28, of a charge of stealing a tourmaline ring from her socialite employer who claimed it was worth $100,000. 

Liverty Narcelles, 35, wept openly and hugged her lawyer and former employer after Magistrate David Cheung gave his verdict. She had been held without bail since her arrest more than four months ago, and just two weeks after she started working for the employer.

Narcelles’ accuser, Chua Eh Fong (also known as Cai Yifeng) was not in court for the verdict. The employer is reported to be the wife of former ATV executive director Sheng Pinru.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The magistrate said the prosecution failed to establish that the defendant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Cheung questioned in particular why Chua took three days to provide police a CCTV footage of the search she made of the defendant’s luggage at noon Sept 9 last year.

He said when the employer eventually gave the footage, it was only a 10-minute-long segmented recordings of events in the dining area that morning, instead of the unedited video footage leading up to the finding of the ring police had requested.

Sources close to the case say the unedited video showed Chua watching Narcelles take out the contents of her suitcase for inspection, before suddenly bending down, then holding up the ring that was supposedly stolen.

A former helper at the employer’s sprawling townhouse at Regalia Bay in Stanley also said it would be next to impossible to steal anything there as there are CCTVs all over. Besides, she said Narcelles did not work long enough in the house to know where the employers’ valuables were kept.

After the hearing, Narcelles was led back by officers to the police holding area on the third floor of the courthouse. Reporters and her former employer who testified for her during the trial waited in vain for nearly an hour to talk to her.


Officers in the holding area later said she had gone to the Immigration Department offices in Wanchai because her visa had run out. At about 6pm, Narcelles texted a friend to say she was still in Immigration but did not know what the officers were planning to do with her.

Tellez wants Narcelles to stay and press labour claims against her employer

Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, general manager of the Mission for Migrant Workers which had been advising Narcelles, rushed to court, and then to Immigration, after hearing of the verdict.

“I want her to remain here because she still has claims against her employer,” Tellez said.


Cheung returned the verdict nearly a month after a three-day trial in which Chua and the arresting officer testified for the prosecution. Narcelles also took the stand in her defense, while her former employer, Portia Cheung, testified to vouch for the helper’s integrity.

Addressing the court on Dec 31, Narcelles said she was sure there was no ring in her luggage when she packed it before going to bed at dawn on Sept 9, so she was shocked to find it there. She cried when a video segment showing the ring and other items on her palm was played back.

The defendant had worked for Chua for just two weeks when she was accused of theft and arrested.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Asked by the defense lawyer how she came to know the ring was valued at $100,000, the helper said it was what the prosecution had told her and what the receipt showed.

Chua said in her evidence that she fired the helper, who she paid $6,000 a month, because she damaged some expensive silverware and a Versace tableware, and stained her costly clothes and bra during washing.

After the verdict, the defence lawyer showed reporters photocopies of a jewelry box with three gem-studded watches, a pair of diamond earrings and an encircled empty spot where the ring was supposedly stolen from. He also showed a photocopy of shots of the ring, which looked inexpensive.

Pindutin para sa latest Winners!

Cheung, who had vouched for Narcelles’ character when she gave evidence for the defense, said after the verdict that she decided to help her former employee because she knew she was honest and good.

“If I could, I would have rehired her,” Cheung said of Narcelles, who worked for her for two years. The employer, who was identified in court as a director of a Korean company, said the pandemic had caused her financial difficulties.

“I know her very well, she’s basically a straightforward and happy person. It’s not easy to be away from home and working,” Cheung said.

She said she offered Narcelles to stay in her home after her release “because of my good relationship with her – she’s not a person who lies.”  


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