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Maid jailed 3 weeks for using bosses’ Octopus cards for fares, shopping

07 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The Filipina used her employers' auto-reload Octopus cards to shop

A 36-year-old Filipina helper was jailed for three weeks today, Oct 7, at Eastern court, after she admitted stealing the auto-reload Octopus cards of her employers and using $417.30 of their stored value for her fare and to buy clothes.

C.L. Bastillo walked meekly into the holding room escorted by police after pleading guilty to four counts of theft, followed by her sentencing by Magistrate Bina Chainrai.

The helper admitted stealing the auto-reload Standard Chartered Octopus cards of her female employer Wan Yuk-ki on May 25 and her male employer Yeung Chuk-sheng’s auto-reload HSBC Octopus card on July 5.

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In the two other charges, she admitted using the cards to pay for her transportation fares and to buy goods.

The prosecution said that Bastillo had been employed by the Chinese couple since October 2019 to help another maid with the chores in their flat at Valiant Park, 52 Conduit Road, Mid-Levels, Central.

Kwan usually put her card in her wallet while Yeung kept his in his phone case.

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In June, Kwan discovered the theft when the Octopus card in her wallet lacked the add-value function. She found out it was the card she gave Bastillo on her first day at work, and it had been switched with her own.

A check with the Octopus card provider showed a total of $26 of stored value had been used to pay bus fares.

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On July 5, Yeung tried but failed to access the car park at Valiant using the Octopus card in his wallet. He found out it was his wife’s card. He checked the CCTV footage and saw Bastillo take his Octopus and replace it with his wife’s at 3:10pm that day.

The couple did not confront the maid for fear of the safety of their sons, aged 4 and 2.

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On Aug 4, Yeung suspected his card was used for other transactions and checked with Octopus Hong Kong. He learned $391.30 of stored value was used to buy goods between July 5 and Aug 1, including $198 worth of clothes at Giordano and $39 at Bossini.


The accused used the stolen Octopus cards to shop in Giordano and Bossini

The prosecution said the maid handed her resignation on Aug 15 and admitted taking the cards and using them to pay her fares and to buy clothes. The couple reported the case and Bastillo was arrested. A search of her locker yielded Giordano and Bossini receipts.

Pindutin para sa detalye

In mitigation, the defense lawyer asked Chainrai to impose a fine, but the magistrate refused, saying the maid’s offenses were premeditated and constituted breach of trust. The counsel also cited his client’s labor claims against her employers, but Chainrai said they had nothing to do with her police case.

The magistrate sentenced the helper to three weeks in jail for each of the four offences, with the sentences to run concurrently.

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