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5 Pinoy tourists found guilty of attempted theft

01 May 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao

Five Filipino tourists who were arrested in April last year after trying to steal the purse of a Korean woman inside the Central MTR station were found guilty of attempted theft on Apr 30 in District Court..

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The attempted theft happened on an escalator inside the Central MTR station 

They will be sentenced on May 14.

The 50-page verdict by Judge David Dufton took one Tagalog and five Cebuano court interpreters nearly the whole day to read to the three female and two male defendants.
The five – Zenaida Aviles, Rasim Linambos, Arlene Gerodias, Manuelito Camacho and Delia Tagalo – sat passively in the dock as their interpreters read the verdict to them. The reading began at 10am and continued at 2:30pm after the interpreters took a lunch break.

The judge said that in finding the defendants guilty, he used his local knowledge of the location of the Wanchai MTR station; the routes of both the MTR and the tramways and the location of Bank St and World-Wide Plaza.
He also carefully considered all the evidence and the oral and written submissions of prosecutor Bina Sujanani and defense lawyers Andrew Raffell, John Marray, James Sherry, Paul Stephenson and Maurice Peter Tracy.

This included the absence of evidence the five came to Hong Kong together, or knew each other before meeting at the Southern Guesthouse in Jordan, Yaumatei.

“I am satisfied so I am sure the prosecution has proved all the elements of the charge beyond reasonable doubt,” Dufton said as he pronounced all defendants guilty.

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Aviles, Linambos, Gerodias, Camacho and Tagalo were arrested on suspicion of trying to pick the wallet of Ko, a Korean female tourist, on the escalator at the MTR Central station on Apr 24 last year. They have been detained since their arrest.
During their trial, which began on Feb 11, Raffell, for Aviles, insisted police had not positively identified the defendant.


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But Sujanani said the five defendants knew each other and had tried to carry out the theft in April last year. An undercover police officer noticed them going up and down the escalators in the MTR station in Wanchai and alerted nine other officers.
The suspects then reportedly went out of the station and boarded a tram to Central, got off at the Bank St and walked to World-Wide House looking for a target. Then they walked to the MTR Central station, where they spotted Ko with a male companion.

The plainclothes officer shadowing the defendants said they sandwiched the pair down the escalator to the Tsuen Wan trains.

Near the bottom of the escalator, Aviles, who was directly behind Ko, unzipped her backpack and pulled out her wallet but released it when she found it chained to the bag.

At that point the officer tailing the group identified himself and radioed his colleagues. The defendants scattered and boarded a departing train to Tsuen Wan. Aviles followed suit but was arrested. Other officers collared the four others in Admiralty station.

Judge Dufton told the court to return on May 14 for the sentencing.


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