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Jobless Pinoy fined $2,000 for taking $800 left on ATM

22 October 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

A jobless Filipino resident has been fined $2,000 following his admission in Eastern Court that he took $800 belonging to an ATM user who withdrew the cash but forgot to take it last December.

Cenon L. Bautista pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Oct 22, before Magistrate Bina Chainrai to one count of theft for taking the cash.

The prosecution said the offense took place on Dec 4 last year at a Bank of China ATM outlet on the ground floor of China Overseas Bldg on Hennessy Road.

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Chow Tan-ying withdrew $800 from her account at 7:05am on Dec 4 then left hurriedly, forgetting to get her money. When she remembered a few minutes later and returned to get the money, it was gone.

The victim reported the incident to the police and a review of the bank’s CCTV footage showed Bautista was next in line to Chow. When Chow left, the defendant took the money from the dispenser and walked away.

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Bautista could not be immediately located by police. It was only upon his return from Manila on the evening of Oct 18 that he was intercepted and arrested at the Immigration area of the Hong Kong International Airport.

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In mitigation, the defense lawyer said his client, who has three daughters and two sons in the Philippines, came to Hong Kong in 1991 and used to have a job that earned him $18,000 a month. He lost the job just before he went home.

The lawyer also said Bautista is suffering from Stage 2 colon cancer and wanted to go home for good.

Bautista agreed to pay the victim $800 to be coursed through the court, his defense counsel told Chainrai. Part of the compensation would come from his police bail money.

Chainrai imposed a fine of $2,000, which Bautista said he would pay within a week.

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