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Employer who falsely accused DH of theft files counter-claim

08 September 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Narcelles was jailed a year ago for a crime she did not commit it   

The employer who failed to make a theft charge stick against her former domestic worker has told the Labour Tribunal that she will fight the remaining $6,000 labour claim against her by the helper, representing a month’s salary in lieu of notice.

Appearing before the tribunal Tuesday, Chua Eh-fong insisted that she did not dismiss Filipina domestic worker Liverty Narcelles, so she should not be ordered to pay the claim.

After Chua said she was ready to go to trial for the disputed amount, Presiding Officer Eleanor Yeung said she should first pay Narcelles $3,377.79, representing the settled items in her claim within 14 days.

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Narcelles was left jobless on Sept 9 last year after Chua called the police and accused the helper of stealing a ring she valued at $120,000. The helper was acquitted of the theft charge in January this year, but only after she had spent more than four months in jail.

Since then, Narcelles has remained unemployed while she pursues a labor claim against her wealthy former employer, who is a well-known Hong Kong socialite.

Despite getting the helper arrested, Chua insisted she did not cause the termination of their contract, so she was filing a $6,000 counterclaim for salary in lieu.

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“I’m not here for the $6,000. I’m here to fight for all employers of domestic helpers. I’m not doing it for money but for the benefit of all the employers of domestic helpers,” she declared.

Chua upped the ante by accusing Narcelles of receiving a commission from the employment agent out of the money the accuser had paid the agency to hire the helper.

Presiding officer Eleanor Yeung replied it must be the other way around, that it’s the worker who pays commission to the agency. But Chua insisted Narcelles got a commission from the agent.

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The presiding officer said “it’s miracle” and ordered Chua to produce evidence to back her accusation.

The defendant submitted additional evidence, including an exchange of SMS messages with a man named “Michael”. But this backfired as she said in one message that she was worried the helper would steal from her so she would ask her to leave immediately.

On questioning by Yeung, Chua replied it was just a “typo” and was not meant to let Narcelles leave immediately.

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“There is a great difference between a typo and an allegation,” the officer said, before asking what the helper had stolen.

Chua replied that the helper stole a diamond ring worth $100,000. She said instead of calling the police, she called the agency, which called the police.

Yeung said she was aware there was a trial in the magistracy and the helper was acquitted. She scolded Chua for bringing up the case again when Narcelles was already cleared after trial.

The presiding officer said Chua seemed to be making a lot of allegations against the helper and wasting court time. She said the case was simply about whether Chua fired the claimant without notice, or whether Narcelles left without a month’s notice.


Chua still insists it was Narcelles who terminated their contract

Yeung said if the two parties could settle the remaining item out of court, they would save a lot of time without going to trial.

But Chua insisted she was prepared for a trial, and would call two witnesses, her friend Michael and a chef in her house who can prove Narcelles had stopped working and was just tinkering with her cellphone to provoke her to fire her.   

Yeung set the trial for May 10-12 and told Chua to make a supplementary statement and a witness statement and send these to the tribunal and Narcelles via registered post by Oct 5. She said Chua must ask her witnesses to do the same by Oct 5.

The presiding officer also instructed Narcelles to reply to the supplementary statements and send it to the tribunal and to Chua by Nov 2.

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