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Five Pinoy pickpockets locked up for 2 yrs

19 May 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
A District Court judge said the 5 had conspired
in trying to pick the wallet of a Korean woman

Five Filipino tourists convicted of trying to steal the purse of a Korean woman inside the Central MTR station over a year ago, were each sentenced to two years in jail on May 14.

But District Court Judge David Dufton said the convicts – Zenaida Aviles, Rasim Linambos, Arlene Gerodias, Manuelito Camacho and Delia Tagalo – may serve just a few months, as they had already been detained for 13 months. Their sentences could be cut further for good behavior in jail.

Aviles, Linambos, Gerodias, Camacho and Tagalo were found guilty after trial by Judge Dufton of conspiring to steal the purse of Korean tourist Ko Yuri on Apr 24 last year.
According to the prosecution, the five knew each other and tried to carry out the theft together. An undercover police officer who saw them going up and down the Wanchai MTR station escalators tailed them and alerted nine other officers.
On arrival in Central, the officer saw the five sandwich a Korean couple down the escalator to the Tsuen Wan-bound trains. Aviles then unzipped the woman’s backpack and pulled out her wallet, but released it when she found it chained to the bag.
That was when the officer called in his colleagues, but the defendants scattered and boarded the departing train. They were arrested when they tried to get off in Admiralty.

Dufton rejected the defendants’ claim that they were not acting together to steal, and that none of them had tried to steal the wallet from Ko’s backpack.
He brushed aside their claim that from their guesthouse in Jordan they had set out to go to World-Wide Plaza in Central to eat Filipino food but lost their way on the MTR, and ended up in Wanchai. From there they took the tram to Central.
Dufton said that in coming up with his verdict he carefully considered all the evidence, including the oral and written submissions of prosecutor Bina Sujanani and defense lawyers Andrew Raffell, John Marray, James Sherry, Paul Stephenson and Maurice Peter Tracy.

Dufton said he had considered the defendants’ mitigations, including Aviles having three little children and coming here to buy clothes for resale back home; Linambos having gone to Macau to visit his girlfriend and coming to Hong Kong to look for a placement agency that offered a job in Canada, and Gerodias coming here to buy Disney clothes that she could resell in the Philippines.

Dufton said he used similar cases of pickpocketing that involved conspiracy and international element to come up with a 24-month sentence for each of the five.

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