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Unrepentant Pinay who stole $90k in jewelry and cash from employer jailed for 6 months

16 April 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

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A Filipina helper who admitted stealing nearly $90,000 worth of jewelry and cash from her employer has been jailed for six months by a Kowloon City magistrate.

Sheila Grace Laidan, a 45-year-old mother of two, was sentenced by Magistrate David Chum today, Apr 16, after she pleaded guilty to two theft charges.

Laidan was charged on Feb 14, two days after police arrested her after her female employer, Chan Mei-ching, discovered that on several occasions between December 2019 and January this year, some pieces of jewelry were missing from her safe.
Chan confronted the maid about the missing jewelry and Laidan admitted taking them because she needed money. The employer did not report the case at the time out of sympathy.

On Feb 10, Chan withdrew $40,000 from a bank for her business and put the money in her bag. Two days later, she discovered that $10,000 was missing. She confronted the maid, who admitted she took the money.

The theft was reported and police officers arrested Laidan after finding two empty jewelry boxes belonging to Chan inside her wardrobe.
The stolen items were five gold bangles, one diamond ring, a pair of silver earrings, a gold pendant with a total value of $79,400, apart from the $10,000 cash.

When confronted by Chan about the missing items, the helper admitted she had pawned the jewelry.

On Apr 2, Laidan pleaded guilty to stealing both the jewelry pieces and the $10,000 cash.
The prosecution told the court today that all the missing jewelry items were recovered from the pawnshop after Chan paid $7,275 to redeem them. But the $10,000 was not recovered as she had remitted the money immediately to the Philippines.

The prosecutor also said the employer was seeking $10,000 compensation.

In mitigation, Laidan’s counsel from the Duty Lawyer Service said his client, who came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper for Chan in 2011, committed the thefts because she needed money for her sick daughter’s operation.

The lawyer also said Laidan had admitted guilt, and helped the police by giving the address of the pawnshop where she hocked the jewelry.

In sentencing, Chum said Laidan had committed very serious offenses by stealing from her employer. There was a breach of trust because the theft happened in the employer’s house.

He said he understood that the helper committed the offenses because she needed money for the mediation of her daughter, but her employer suffered loss as a consequence.

Chum sentenced the helper to a discounted six months in jail for each of the charges, to be served concurrently.

He also rejected the employer’s claim for compensation, saying Laidan does not have money to pay her back.

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