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Pinay maid jailed 12 days for $500 theft

17 April 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

J.M. says she took the $500 because her employer did not give her food
A 34-year-old domestic helper who says she was forced to steal $500 from her employer who did not give her food was jailed for 12 days by West Kowloon magistrate Edward Wong despite pleading guilty to the offence, and paying back the money.
Wong said the defendant should have been sentenced to 21 days’ imprisonment if she did not plead guilty and compensated her employer.

The Filipina was arrested by police last month after the employer who lives in Kowloon, reported that the maid had stolen money from her.

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to the prosecution, the employer noticed that a $500 bank note she had kept in her bedroom drawer was missing. When she asked the maid, J.M. immediately admitted she took the money.

The lawyer assigned by the Duty Lawyer Service requested for a lenient sentence for J.M.,  saying she is supporting an eight-year-old daughter and an ailing mother. She was sending $1,500 monthly for her daughter’s schooling and $2,000 to her mother for taking care of the girl.

The lawyer also said the helper was the sole breadwinner in the family.
She came to Hong Kong in 2012 and had two previous employers. She had a clear record.

An officer of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section who talked to J.M. said the woman told him she took the money because she was hungry as her employer did not give her food, or food allowance.
J.M. said she was hard-up because she was still paying back the agency for the $11,000 it charged her as placement fee.

She also claimed she was serving seven adults and a baby in her employer’s house.

The officer said the Filipina was not helped by her Hong Kong agent, even after she complained to its staff about her plight.

Consulate officers are said to be looking at filing a complaint against the employer for starving helper.
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