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Filipina jailed six months for stealing $80k from employer's safe

13 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao
Borines admitted stealing the money from two safe boxes with defective locks, then sent it all home

A Filipina domestic helper was sentenced to 6 months in jail today, Aug 13, in Eastern Court after she admitted stealing $80,000 from her employers’ safe boxes in Quarry Bay between May 1 and June 28 this year.

Marites Borines, a 34-year-old single mother, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft when she appeared before Eastern Court Magistrate Bina Chainrai before noon. She had been in police custody since her arrest on Jun 28.

The maid lived in the employers’ a flat on Tower 1 of Kornville, a residential block at 38 Yau Man St.

The prosecution said that in May, the female employer, Ms Chan, kept $180,600 in two safe boxes in the couple’s unlocked bedroom. She had $120,600 in a gray safe box, and $60,000 in a beige safe box.

On June 28, when the employer checked the money, she was surprised to find that only $70,600 was left in the grey box and $30,000 in the beige box. A total of $80,000 was missing.

Chan asked her husband as well as their son and daughter if they had taken the money, but all denied doing it. 

Pindutin para sa detalye

The female employer next asked Borines and the maid immediately admitted taking the money to repay her debt, the prosecution said.

The prosecutor said Borines was able to open the two safe boxes because, the employer admitted, their mechanical locks were defective and could be opened by anybody without the right combination.

Chan reported the theft to the police and when officers arrived, they arrested the maid. The officers searched her bedroom and found $1,410 in her wallet.
The prosecutor said none of the missing money was recovered as the defendant had sent them all to her family in the Philippines. The employers sought compensation from Borines but the maid said she had no more money.

The prosecutor said Borines had a clear record. She had a $30,000 loan that she and a domestic worker friend took out from a lending company. Borines said the friend left Hong Kong last year but has not returned so she was repaying the loan all by herself.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said his client came to Hong Kong in 2017 to work as a helper to support her daughter aged 9 and her parents. She was sending them only $1,500 every month because she was repaying the loan at $3,000 a month.

The defendant’s mother fell ill in February so she sent $11,000 for her hospitalization, the defense lawyer said, as he asked for a lenient sentence.

Chairnrai said after considering the facts of the case and Borines being unable to compensate the employer, she was sentencing the defendant to six months in jail after the one-third discount for her guilty plea.
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