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Sister of Filipina DH who stole $14.6 million jewels to stand trial

09 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Two expensive pieces of jewelry recovered from a pawnshop by Mrs Liang

The case against a fourth defendant in the $14.6 million jewelry theft by a Filipina domestic helper against her wealthy employers was transferred today, Jun 9, to the District Court for trial.

Marina G. Biala appeared before Magistrate Peter Law for her transfer hearing two days after she pleaded not guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods. She was told to appear for her first hearing in District Court on Jun 24. Her application for bail was rejected.

Also on Monday, her sister, Carmelita G. Nones, pleaded guilty to six counts of theft committed between Jun 3, 2018 and Sept 4, 2019.

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Two other accused, Maricris Nones (niece of Carmelita and Biala) and Cristina Alagna (their cousin) admitted a total of 10 charges between them relating to the handling or pawning of the stolen jewelry.

The case against the three will be transferred to the High Court for sentencing at a date to be announced.

In an amended charge read to her this morning, Biala is accused of helping handle and keeping stolen property consisting of 15 necklaces, 5 pendants, 4 bangles, 13 pairs of earrings, 1 earring, 1 brooch, 4 necklaces with pendants, 4 watches, $4,000, 1 gold bar and 1 gold coin, all belonging to Helen Frances Liang.

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The prosecution alleged that Biala kept the goods despite knowing that they were stolen property. But the day after Nones was arrested on Sept 4, 2019, Biala returned the bag to Mrs Liang.

The lawyer who represented Biala applied for $40,000 bail on her behalf, but Law rejected the request, citing the seriousness of the offence and the defendant’s lack of local ties. 

The lawyer said Biala's Caucasian employer, who was in court and had been attending her previous hearings, was willing to continue employing Biala and let the defendant use his address for her bail application.  

But Law ignored the offer and ordered Biala remanded in custody until the hearing of her case in District Court.

Carmelita's theft was discovered only after police found 25 pawn receipts in her name

Police uncovered what is so far the biggest theft committed by a foreign domestic helper against her employers in July 2019 while doing their regular checking of records of Hong Kong pawnshops, according to court documents.

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The officers found out that Nones had 25 pawn receipts in two pawnshops. These were apart from the receipts recovered from Maricris and Alagna.

The Liangs were not aware of what was going on until they were visited by the officers, who reported to them Carmelita’s suspicious dealings with the pawnshops.


The couple confirmed their ownership of the pawned items found by the police in the pawnshops and denied they had given those jewelry pieces to their helper.

On the same day, Liang discovered that a matching pair of Piaget watches he bought for himself and his wife for $200,000 had gone missing, and called the police.

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