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Filipina avoids jail for theft, another gets 2 months

03 April 2024


The cases were heard at Eastern Court

Two Filipina domestic helpers were taken out of detention Tuesday (Apr 2) to separately face charges of theft at the Eastern Courts, but when their cases concluded with convictions after they pleaded guilty, one walked free and the other returned to jail to serve her sentence.

I. Abaquita, 47 years old, who had been in police detention for three days, was released after Principal Magistrate Ivy Chui sentenced her to two weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 15 months, for stealing 140 renminbi from her employer.

In the other case, Jennevie Miguel, 28 years old, was sent to prison for two months after also pleading guilty to stealing 50,000 Japanese yen (about HK2,500) from her employer.


What spelled the diffence in the punishments?

Abaquita was accused of stealing two 20 renminbi and one 100 renminbi notes – equivalent to about HK$150 -- last March 30 in her employer’s flat on Smithfield St., Kennedy Town.

A police report said her employer placed the notes in a cabinet in the master bedroom in the morning, but noticed a few hours later that they were missing. The employer called the police. 

When the officers searched Abaquita’s belongings and found the notes, she was arrested.


Police noted that during the investigation, Abaquita admitted stealing the Chinese currency to buy medicines for her sick mother. The whole amount was subsequently returned to the employer.

In mitigation, Abaquita’s lawyer noted that the amount involved was so small that, if a case in the past is made as a guide, the punishment should not be custodial. Besides, he added, the employer suffered no loss.

Magistrate Chui agreed and gave Abaquita a three-week prison term, reduced by one-third for her guilty plea, but suspended for 15 months. She warned the Filipina that while she will not be jailed immediately, she will be made to serve her sentence if she reoffends during this period.


In the other case, Magistrate Chui also gave Miguel a one-third discount on her jail term of three months, but noted that theft was a serious offense and that she breached her employer’s trust.

Miguel’s lawyer also said she was unable to return the whole amount stolen, equivalent to HK$2,500, resulting in a loss of HK$2,000 for the employer.

Her employer told police that on March 5, he placed 300,000 yen in a red envelope and 100,000 yen in a white envelope and kept both envelopes under lock and key in a cabinet in his flat in Royal Court on Kennedy Road, Wanchai.

Last March 24, when he counted the money again, he found 3,000 yen missing from the red envelope and 1,000 yen missing from the white envelope. The next day, when another 1,000 yen went missing again, he called police.

Officers officers searched the house and found 1,000 yen in Miguel’s wallet.

During the investigation, she admitted also stealing the missing 4,000 yen.
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