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Filipina DH who ‘forgot’ to return employer’s ring cleared of theft

08 April 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The Shatin magistrate said the prosecution failed to show
the accused was guilty 'beyond reasonable doubt'

A Filipina domestic helper accused of stealing her female employer’s $10,000 ring last year was acquitted of theft this afternoon, Apr 8, by a magistrate in Shatin Court.

Flordelyn Serquina, 40, could not prevent her tears after Magistrate David Chum said the prosecution had failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt during a two-day trial last month.


Chum said the prosecution and defense vigorously debated Serquina’s excuse that she had forgotten to return the ring she found one April day in 2020 under a living room chair after putting it aside as workers were coming to do repairs in her employer’s flat.

The magistrate said it was foolish for the helper to keep the ring, which had a yellow gemstone and diamonds, for quite some time before remembering where she had kept it.


Chum said he could not rule out that the defendant had only forgotten to return the ring to her employer Tung Chuan-chuan, 69, without any intent to steal it.

“Therefore, this court can’t say the defendant dishonestly stole the ring. I give her the benefit of the doubt and acquit her,” Chum said.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Police arrested Serquina last May 27 after Tung reported that she found the ring in a red and yellow coin bag in the defendant’s bedside drawer, a day after the employer noticed that it was missing from a nightstand drawer in her bedroom.

The employer summarily dismissed the helper, whom she had employed since January 2016 as domestic helper in her flat at Bauhinia Court, Worldwide Garden, in Shatin.

The accused pleaded not guilty to one count of theft when she was arraigned in Shatin Court on July 27, prompting the magistrate to schedule the case for trial.

During the trial, Tung took the witness stand and said she did not expect the defendant to steal from her because she had performed her duties well.

The missing ring was found in a drawer inside the helper's room in this housing estate

The elderly woman said she last saw the ring around Apr 15 last year, when she put it in the drawer of the nightstand in her bedroom. When she checked the drawer again on May 26 or after more than a month, the ring was gone.

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Tung said she asked the defendant if she had seen the ring, but Serquina said she didn’t.

The next day, around 10am, while Serquina was washing the car, Tung searched the helper’s room and found the missing ring in the red and yellow coin bag.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Tung said she called her husband, who had gone out of the house, and told him she had found the ring. She said it was her husband who called the police.

Taking the witness stand, Serquina said she did not intend to steal the ring. When she found it under the chair on that April day, some workers were coming to the flat to do some repairs so she just kept it in a drawer.

She said she was too occupied with her house chores that she forgot all about returning the ring to Tung. It was only when the police arrived that she remembered about it. 

During cross-examination, the prosecutor suggested to Serquina that she intended to steal the ring, otherwise she would have returned it to the employer right away.

But the defendant insisted that she simply forgot all about it because she had always been very busy.

In acquitting the defendant, Chum said the prosecution failed to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He also took into account her clear record.

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