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Co-worker of Pinay arrested for theft held at airport

12 November 2023

Marjorie got as far as the departure gates before she was held at Immigration (File photo)

A Filipina domestic worker about to leave Hong Kong yesterday night was detained briefly by Immigration officers and questioned about a theft at her former employer’s home for which a co-worker, also a Filipina, was arrested.

Marjorie T. was almost in tears when Immigration officers at Chek Lap Kok put her aside and questioned her about the theft report filed by her former employer on October 27, which prompted her to resign two days later.

The police investigation was resumed when the employer apparently found some evidence in the possession of one of the two helpers who remained in the household. 


The helper, Rhemalyn Parungao, was arrested on Thursday, Nov 10, and taken to Eastern court the next day.

According to police, Parungao, 31 years old, was charged with stealing $60,000 worth of jewelry which was all recovered, plus $20,000 cash, which was not recovered.

The theft allegedly happened at her employer’s standalone house on Tung Lo Wan Road in Causeway Bay.


No plea was taken and Parungao was remanded in custody until her next court appearance.

News of Parungao’s arrest came as a shock to Marjorie, who learned that the reason Parungao was arrested was because some pawnshop receipts were found in her possession.

But she got alarmed at the same time because she was worried she would be implicated in the suspected theft and be prevented from leaving as she had become close to Parungao and the other helper in the household, who had worked for their employers for five and six years, respectively.


It thus came as a relief when Immigration officers finally cleared her after talking to her female employer, so she managed to catch her 6pm flight.

For Marjorie, her recent Hong Kong experience was something she would not forget for a long time. In a statement she sent to Immigration with help from the Mission for Migrant Workers, she recalled being accused of masterminding the alleged theft, and she surmised it was because she was the newest helper to serve in the household.

According to Marjorie she and the two other workers were asked by their employer’s son and his wife to gather around the dining table at 2pm on Oct. 27, and to write down their passport numbers and names, and to leave their fingerprints on a blank piece of paper.


After they did as instructed, they were told that some pieces of jewelry were stolen and that they should all admit to the theft. Marjorie said their female employer then accused her of masterminding the theft, while the two other helpers served as lookouts.

Marjorie claimed their employers then checked all their bank accounts and electronic payment apps, and finding nothing that looked suspicious, called the police.

At around 7:30pm some officers arrived, and proceeded to conduct a body check on them and search their rooms. They left at 11pm after finding no evidence.


After the officers left, their employer allegedly continued questioning them and to pressure them into admitting the alleged theft until about 2am, when they were finally allowed to sleep as they had become very exhausted.

The next day the employer allegedly started accusing them of stealing other things, like the $2,000 that went missing from her pocket, and her cigarettes. The three helpers were also told not to leave the house unless they needed to go out and buy something.

After two more days of being at the receiving end of what she described as her employers’ hostility, Marjorie asked to be let go.

“It is impossible for me to continue working in such an environment,” she said in her letter to Immigration. “I am not safe anymore and my life is in danger.”

Her employer refused to let her go, however, saying she should hand in a resignation letter first.  Marjorie called the police to help ease her departure but in the end, she gave in and signed a resignation letter, and left that same night.

With help from the Social Justice for Migrant Workers, she managed to get counseling from the Mission and shelter from Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge until she left Hong Kong, vowing never to return.



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