3 Pinoy tourists jailed for theft try
THREE Filipino tourists were jailed after pleading guilty to attempting to pick the bag of a Chinese woman at the Causeway Bay station a day after they arrived in Hong Kong.
Deputy District Judge Ada Yim on Aug. 28, sentenced C.D. Talao and S.M.M. Niduaza to 16 months in prison each for theft.
The other defendant, A.P. dela Cruz, who was also charged with breach of deportation order and had a number of aliases and 12 previous convictions in Hong Kong, was sentenced to 42 months in jail.
Prosecutors charged that the defendants arrived in Hong Kong on Jan. 18, and on Jan. 19, they were then caught on the escalator of the Causeway Bay MTR station trying to pick the rucksack of a Chinese woman.
Dela Cruz opened the bag’s zipper, while the two defendants, who were standing nearby, acted as his cover.
The prosecution also said Talao, 33, and Niduaza, 39, had no previous records in Hong Kong.
Mitigating, Talao’s lawyer said the defendant was born in Manila and used to earn $2,300 or about P14,000 monthly as a taxicab driver, and was married and had two daughters in the Philippines.
He also lived with his grandmother, mother, and his stepfather. Talao, who finished a computer programming course, and his stepfather had to support the family.
Meanwhile, Niduaza, who used to earn $1,500 or about P9,000 monthly by selling vegetables, had a son, 21, and daughter, 20.
Her husband was unemployed and was a drug addict, her lawyer told the court.
The two defendants also said they borrowed money for their airfare to Hong Kong and that they thought they could make quick money here by taking a job while they were staying in the city.
The two then stayed in a guesthouse in Tsim Sha Tsui and met Dela Cruz who offered them to make quick money by joining him in his activity.
Meanwhile, Dela Cruz’s lawyer also told the court that the defendant was 68-year-old widower, and had three daughters – two who already have their own families, and one from his current girlfriend.
The Filipino, who also used to be a taxicab driver, had a number of medical problems such as diabetes, a kidney illness, and hypertension.
In sentencing the defendants, Judge Yim told Talao and Niduaza that as they had been in custody since January, they could soon be released and admonished them to learn their lesson from their imprisonment.
“Be good models from now on to your children. Don’t be used again by any other person to commit crime in the future,” said Judge Yim. Niduaza was then seen crying in the dock.
On the other hand, the judge said she imposed the longer sentence on Dela Cruz owing to his previous convictions and that a deterrent sentence was needed.
“Should you return to Hong Kong again, you can expect a longer sentence, while your deportation order is still operational,” said Judge Yim.