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DH fined $1,500 for sneaking unpaid goods out of store

10 August 2019

Kwun Tong Court
By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina helper who failed to pay for $129 worth of goods she had placed in a bag in the lower rack of a grocery cart was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to charge of theft in Kwun Tong Court on Aug 8.

M. Alog admitted her guilt before Magistrate Tobias Cheng at the start of a scheduled trial of her case.

The prosecution said Alog was arrested on Apr 18 after trying to leave a Wellcome supermarket in Yau Tong, Kowloon without paying for the goods that were in a basket in the lower rack of the cart.
According to the charge, the defendant went to the supermarket on that date and picked up some items from the shelves and put them in a basket on the upper rack of the cart.

Then she went around the other shelves, took more goods, and placed them in a recyclable bag in the lower rack. Unknown to the defendant, a staff monitoring the CCTV cameras in the shop saw her.
A few minutes later, the defendant went to the counter and paid for the goods in the upper basket, then proceeded to the exit. Outside the shop, the staff intercepted her, checked the content of the recyclable bag and found the unpaid items.

During investigation, Alog insisted she forgot to pay for the other goods. She was allowed to post a $500 bail for her temporary liberty.  
In mitigation, the defense lawyer said Alog came to Hong Kong to work for her employer in late 2017, but was terminated by her employer after her arrest. She is married and has a child. Her husband, who is in a car buy-and-sell business, has no regular income.

The lawyer asked for a lenient sentence by way of a $1,000 fine.

But Magistrate Cheng said that was too low and set the starting fine at $2,000. After a 25% discount for Alog’s guilty plea, he imposed a fine of $1,500 to be paid by Aug 12.

After the trial, Alog was accompanied by Danny Baldon, officer of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to seek help to contact her employer and claim her air ticket back to Manila and other amounts due her.
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