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Filipina fined $1,500 after being found guilty of shoplifting

16 March 2023

By The SUN


The theft happened in a Fusion shop in Happy Valley (Wikimedia photo)

“A pack of lies.”

This was how Eastern Court magistrate Tsang Chung-yiu described the story concocted by a Filipina domestic helper to defend herself against a charge of stealing two bags of goods from a supermarket in Happy Valley on July 1 last year.

Tsang ordered Glenny S. Flores, 35, to pay a fine of $1,500 for the offence of theft, to which she pleaded not guilty in October last year, leading to a two-day trial.

The penalty which the magistrate read out on Wednesday, March 14, amounted to roughly the total cost of the goods that Flores had stolen from Fusion Supermarket.


These included 21 packs of chocolate, one bottle of shampoo, three bottles of conditioner, two packs of pain-relieving plasters, and two tubes of spray liniment.

She had put the items in two reusable bags, and was on her way out when the alarm sounded. She paid for one pack of chocolates which had triggered the alarm, and again tried to sneak out. However, the alarm sounded again and the cashier confronted her.

Flores and the cashier had an altercation, and the police were called.


In her defence, Flores said she had intended to pay for the other items, but her wallet was with her friend, Lovely, who had followed her to the grocery and was standing just outside while she was being questioned by the police.

Through her lawyer, Flores also complained that the store had no CCTV, which could have shown that she did not intend to leave without paying.

She also alleged that she was forced to admit the offence after an officer told her that she would be let off lightly if she did, that she was made to confirm what the officer had written on his notebook without being cautioned about it, that the Tagalog interpreter dictated to her what to say, and that she should have been given a Cebuano interpreter and not a Tagalog one.


In court, however, the officers denied using coercion or tricking Flores into admitting her guilt, which both the Tagalog and the Chinese interpreters affirmed.

One of the officers also said that when he checked Flores’ phone he saw that she did not have enough money in her Alipay account to pay for the items. She had gone to the store with only the bags and her phone with her.

Magistrate Tang was convinced that there was irregularity in the way Flores was asked to write in the officer’s notebook without being given prior warning, and questioned why a Tagalog interpreter was called when the defendant’s mother tongue was Cebuano.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

Tang also noted that Flores had a clear record, which suggested she was a reliable witness.

However, he decided to convict her based on her own testimonies about what happened on the day in question.

First off, Tang said “it did not make sense” that Flores had put the grocery items in two shopping bags instead of leaving them in the trolley and then pushing it to the self-service counters.

Further, if she had really intended for her friend Lovely to bring her wallet to the store so she could pay for the items, why did she not call her before trying to step out?

"Why was it necessary to carry the bags and not leave the goods in the trolley?,” asked the magistrate. Why did it take Lovely a long time to come?”

To him, the only logical inference was that Flores had paid for one item as a ruse to prevent any suspicion that she had taken a number of goods without paying for them.

Finally, he said the fact that there was no CCTV in the store could not be used as evidence in the defendant’s favor.

In mitigation, the defense lawyer said Flores is a single mother to three children, and has been sending $3,000 of her monthly salary home for their upkeep.

She has worked in Hong Kong since 2019, and her current employer whose three-year-old daughter she looks after, intends to sign her up again when their contract expires in September this year.

To show support for Flores, her employers attended court throughout her trial, and until the judge announced his verdict.

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