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Filipina driven to steal by debts gets 16-month jail term

03 June 2024


The court said getting mired in debt is no excuse to steal

A Filipina driven to steal from her employer to pay debts which mounted after she acted as guarantor for a friend who later absconded, was jailed for 16 months after she pleaded guilty today at Eastern Court.

“I do not see a mitigating factor to reduce your sentence” (from levels prescribed by the sentencing guidelines), Magistrate Minnie Wat told Johna C. Jinon, 40 years old. 

“You stole more than $249,000, most of which can no longer be recovered.”

Magistrate Wat also cited her serious breach of her employers’ trust, having taken advantage of her being given access to their belongings as a domestic helper since 2018, getting a salary of $5,300 monthly.


Jinon admitted stealing $16,510 in cash, six bracelets, two necklaces, three rings, and one watch from her employer, Hank Chong.

The theft happened between February 2022 and May 4, 2024 at the employer’s flat at Unique Villa on Holly Road in Happy Valley.

The theft was discovered after the employer noticed that $3,000 was missing from an envelope that contained $25,000, kept in an unlocked cabinet in the master bedroom.

When confronted, Jinon afmitted the theft of the missing cash and other items in the past, and signed a confession.

She was arrested after the employer called police.

In today’s hearing, Jinon was meted 24 months’ imprisonment. Because of her confession, she was entitled to a one-third discount, resulting in a prison term of 16 months.

Jinon’s duty lawyer sought the court’s leniency, saying she was forced to steal to pay off mounting debts that began when she was made to pay for a loan she guaranteed.

She sank deeper in debt trying to pay off the loan when she turned to loansharks, who charged high interest rates.

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