Right or wrong?
Three maids get 3 months' jail for stealing clothes from tai-tai boss
Dec 16, 2009
Three former maids of Winnie Chin Wai-yee, who was the Miss Hong Kong runner-up in 1981, were jailed for three months yesterday for stealing children's clothes valued at HK$23,000 from their employer.
Magistrate Henry Mierczak convicted Filipinos Marites Alberto Saddaran, 34, Aubrey Leal Garcia, 25, and Ginavilla Velasco Gongob, 41, after rejecting Saddaran's assertion that Chin had discarded the items and told her to do what she liked with them.
"It's not going to be a good Christmas for the three defendants," said Ody Lai, representing the helpers, adding that they would never be able to work in the city again.
The three had pleaded not guilty in Eastern Court to stealing 147 items at the Old Peak Road home of Chin, her socialite banker husband Philip Ma Ching-yeung, their daughter and two sons.
Mierczak's ruling came after Saddaran gave an emotional account of how Chin verbally abused her and other domestic helpers in her household by calling them stupid and "[expletive] Filipinos", and saying all Filipinos had no brains.
Mierczak allowed a five-minute break when Saddaran became emotional but said later that he was not impressed by her performance in the witness box.
Chin had not given permission to take the items, nor had she discarded them, he said.
Saddaran's claim that she took the items planning to send them to her relatives because she felt it would be a waste to discard them was simply not true, he said.
The magistrate said the trio's theft involved a breach of the trust that Chin had placed in them as their employer. The items were not taken in one day, but over a period of time, and were valued at more than HK$20,000, he said.
The court heard that Saddaran, Garcia and Gongob stole 79 shirts, 47 pairs of trousers, 15 pairs of shoes, three skirts, three jackets and two rucksacks belonging to Chin and Ma's children. Police found the items in their rooms when searching the home, after Chin found Saddaran stealing shoes on November 3 and reported her.
In mitigation, Lai said the trio had lost their jobs and income, and the Immigration Department would never let them work in the city again, which was punishment enough for their crime.
Saddaran, the sole breadwinner for her family, and Gongob, a single mother, started working in the city in 2005. Garcia started in 2007, Lai said.
Abner Santo Domingo, head of the assistance to nationals section of the Philippine consulate, declined to comment.
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Posted by cookie09 (1455 days ago)
hearing in prior reports that the employer fired 45 maids within 5 years and lost at least a few labour cases against maids, i can't help to feel uncomfortable about this verdict.
SCMP also reported yesterday that the police man who recorded the confession from the maids (in English) had a E Grade in his HKCEE exams. Now I don't know the grading system, but an E grade sounds dismal to me. He recorded the maid's admission that she admitted to have 'stolen' the items whereas the maid said that she 'got' or 'took' them.
Posted by evildeeds (1455 days ago)
Hard to know exactly what happened but alarm bells should be ringing. 45 maids in 5 years, crazy. Not an isolated case, a couple of years back the DH of Jackie Cheung was given 6 months for "stealing" 3 photos. It transpired they'd gone through over 30 maids in 3 years and had been blacklisted by the Philippine consulate. Seems too convenient.
And for me the kicker in the JC case was that in the same week a civil servant was in court for misappropriating over 2,000,000HKD through his job and was just fined. Justice at it's best hey!
Posted by notaeuropean (1455 days ago)
Disgusting! I have no doubt that the maids took the clothes, but sfw really? 45 maids in 5 years!! This kind of ("alleged") abuse is shameful. Worse than I have seen in India. Congrats HK!!
Posted by punter (1455 days ago)
I too feel very uncomfortable with the judgement. The maids "stole" the items "over a period of time" and kept them in their rooms? The 3 maids must be total nincompoops, or must be telling the truth (that the "old" stuff were given by the employer, which a lot of employers do here in Hong Kong). However, the judge believed the employer can't tell a lie.
Posted by alexismith (1455 days ago)
Life is so unfair for those victim...If the FDH did something wrong to the employer like stealing etc.they locked up, what about if the employer did horrible thing to the FDH? like what happened to that maid in DB (body found floating in the sea)their life is like free..THE JUDGEMENT IS REALLY UNFAIR..