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Sister of FDH culprit in $14.6 million jewelry theft to stand trial

07 October 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao  

Biala covers her face while being pursued by reporters outside court

A District Court trial has been set for Jan 10 next year for Marina G. Biala, sister of a Filipina domestic helper who was jailed for nearly five years for stealing $14.6 million worth of jewelry from her employers in Deepwater Bay.

Judge Anthony Kwok today, Oct 7, set the two-day trial after being told by Biala’s counsel that she would plead not guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods. Biala had kept a bag containing $4.81 million that her younger sister, Carmelita D. Nones, had entrusted to her.

On Sept 7, Nones was sentenced to four years and 11 months after admitting six counts of stealing more than 200 pieces of jewelry and gold nuggets between May 2018 and September 2019 belonging to her employer David Liang and wife Helen Frances Liang.

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Her co-accused, niece Maricris G. Nones and cousin Cristina G. Alagna who helped pawn the stolen jewelry, also pleaded guilty to four and six counts, respectively, of handling stolen goods, and were each jailed one year and four months.

Biala, who had earlier indicated she would deny the charge against her, was allowed to post $10,000 cash bail on Jun 24 by Judge W.K. Kwok, despite the prosecution’s objections.

Kwok also approved a $10,000 surety posted by Biala’s employer and let her stay in his address. As in previous hearings, the employer accompanied Biala.


Upon leaving the court today, Biala tried to evade reporters who tried to photograph her, while her employer tried to stop them taking pictures of her.

Barrister Frederic C. Whitehouse, who is representing Biala through Legal Aid, said outside the courtroom he would try to get the prosecution to drop the charge against his client, although he added that was unlikely to happen.


The prosecution said on Jun 7 that a day after Nones was arrested on Sept 4, 2019, Biala was escorted by her employer, to the Liang couple’s house in Deepwater Bay, to return the bag containing the stolen jewelry.

Inside the bag were 23 necklaces, 3 bracelets, 11 pairs of earrings, a single earring, 1 brooch, 11 pendants, 5 rings, 3 watches, 2 bangles, some Chanel jewelry worth a total of $120,000 and costume jewelry valued at $3,000, all belonging to Mrs Liang.

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But four lai see packets that had contained $4,000 cash were empty.

Biala told the court on Jun 24 that she didn’t know what the bag contained.

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