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DH jailed nearly 17 months for stealing employer’s jewelry worth $295k

16 April 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

The accused pawned the jewelry for less than half their actual value (Photo illustration)

A Filipina domestic helper said she stole $295,000 in jewelry from her employer in May last year to pay for her sister’s cancer surgery, but a District Court judge ignored her excuse and sentence her yesterday, Apr 15.

The defendant, Revelyn Resurreccion, was sentenced by Judge Isaac Tam to 16 months and 20 days in prison after she pleaded guilty to the theft.


The judge said the helper had committed a serious breach of trust and that her mitigation carried no weight that could lessen her sentence.

The helper, who has been detained without bail since her arrest on Oct 4 last year, has only less than a year left to serve her sentence.

Resurreccion, 44 years old and single, initially pleaded guilty on Jan 27 before Judge W.K. Kwok to a charge of stealing more than a dozen jewelry pieces owned by her female employer, Kwok Lai-chun, 55, in a flat in Yee King Court, South Horizons, in Ap Lei Chau.


The prosecution yesterday said it had re-amended the charge with a list of the stolen items.

The charge said Resurreccion on May 1, 2020, stole five necklaces with a pendant each, a necklace with two pendants, five necklaces, 12 pairs of earrings, 20 rings, five bracelets and four wrist chains altogether valued at $294,917. They were all owned by Kwok.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Prosecutor Mr Hui said Kwok hired the helper in 2014 and her latest contract was due to expire last Nov 19. He said the employer kept her jewelry in several boxes in an unlocked drawer at her computer desk and an unlocked secret compartment under her bed.

About 9pm on Sept 28 last year, the employer checked her jewelry boxes but discovered the jewelry pieces were gone. She also found a box with a silvery wrist chain that was not hers inside the drawer at her computer desk

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On Sept 29, Resurreccion admitted she had taken the jewelry and pawned them because she needed money. She gave Kwok the pawnshop receipts. The case was reported and the police arrested her.

The prosecution said that during investigation, the defendant admitted under caution she stole the jewelry on May 1 last year out of greed.

Hui said the woman pawned the stolen jewelry one by one between June and September 2020 for fear she would be discovered if she hocked them altogether. He said she placed the box with a silvery wrist chain in Kwok’s drawer to pretend it was the latter’s jewelry.


The prosecutor said the helper admitted she needed money for the surgery of her elder sister, who was suffering from cancer. He said the helper had a clear record. Hui said the pawnshop receipts showed the helper hocked the stolen jewelry for a total of $133,560. 

District Court judge did not buy defendant's excuse that she stole to pay for sister's cancer treatment

In mitigation, defense lawyer Oliver Davies said Resurreccion had been a helper in the Philippines and Singapore before she came to Hong Kong. She had been working for most of her life for her parents, her siblings and their families, Davies said.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The defendant, the second of four daughters in a family of six children, had been sending 80% of her salary to her parents, both 55, and her student niece and nephew.

She has two younger sisters, aged 29 and 24, who work as helpers in Hong Kong but they did not contribute to the family’s upkeep and medical expenses of their sister because they were saving for their marriages, the lawyer said.

When the elder sister needed surgery to remove her cancer growth, Resurreccion pawned some jewelry so she could send home Php200,000. She expected a new surgery in December, so she pawned the rest of the loot and sent money home.

Judge Tam asked Davies why his client was shouldering the financial burden alone when her two younger sisters were also working here. The lawyer said Resurreccion did not want to burden them.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

The prosecutor told the judge that the pawnshops agreed to return all the stolen jewelry to the employer under a deal in which Kwok pay back the pawnshops half of the $133,560 they had paid out to Resurreccion.

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