2 Filipino men steal because of ‘hunger’

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Kowloon City Courts

TWO unemployed Filipino men said their hunger drove them to stealing $136.70-worth of grocery items in Hung Hom.

Deputy Magistrate Vennie Chiu Wai-yee of the Kowloon City Magistracy on Oct. 3 ordered R. Tabora to be jailed for eight days, but reduced it to six days following his guilty plea.

The other defendant, R. Ledesma, was originally fined $2,000 for the same offense, but was also reduced to $1,500 owing to his guilty plea.

The court heard that Tabora and Ledesma on Apr. 23 stole the food items from a Wellcome Supermarket in Hung Hom.

The following day a manager at the supermarket was conducting an inventory, and found some items missing. Upon checking the CCTV footage, the manager saw the two defendants taking the items from the shelf and left the store without paying for them.

When arrested by police officers, Tabora and Ledesma said they took the items and ate them.

Mitigating, the defendants’ duty lawyer said the two Filipino men had been jobless and were recipients of government aid through the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme.

“They admitted the facts, and that shows they’re remorseful…What they stole were food items, and they indicated they were willing make compensation,” the duty lawyer said.

The prosecutor, however, said Tabora had 11 previous convictions, three of which were also theft charges, and one for burglary, while Ledesma had two previous criminal records, both of which were non-theft related.

Tabora’s last conviction before the present offense was in 2015.

After Judge Chiu gave them their sentence, Ledesma also asked to be allowed to pay the fine by installment.

“The fine of $1,500 be paid on or before Nov. 28, and failing to do so would mean you would be arrested,” she said.

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