Overstaying FDH admits to stealing $211,000 worth of valuables from employer

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Eastern Magistrates' Courts in Sai Wan Ho

A 48-year-old Filipino domestic worker tearfully admitted this morning (November 5) to stealing $211,000 (P1.4 million) worth of valuables from her French employer in Sai Ying Pun.

Fedelita R.S., who has four sons aged 18 to 25 in the Philippines, pleaded guilty to the charge of theft and overstaying at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts in Sai Wan Ho.

“Inaamin ko po (I admit it),” Fedelita said before she broke down and cried.

She said she took a necklace with a diamond, a iPad Air tablet, and a ring because her mother had an accident and her medical bills piled up.

“Her 79-year-old mother was involved in a car accident and so she badly needed some money,” Fedelita’s lawyer told the court.

The lawyer added that Fedelita also fell under the bad influence of some of her friends here in HK who “persuaded her to do these things.”

The prosecution said that the theft happened between January and February 2015. Fedelita’s employer found out that the Filipina had stolen her valuables after the helper left her flat. The employer never heard from her again.

Upon investigation, the police discovered that Fedelita had pawned the necklace with the diamond, worth $200,000, for $1,750.

They also discovered that she had been overstaying in Hong Kong since October 11, 2014. Her French employer apparently was not aware about her status.

After hiding from authorities since February 2015, Fedelita surrendered to Immigration authorities on October 5 and admitted the crimes she committed.

“The defendant showed genuine remorse. She surrendered and is hoping that she would be able to go to the Philippines as soon as possible,” Fedelita’s lawyer said.

“She pawned the necklace for $1,750 which shows that she does not realize the actual worth of the item. She took what she actually needed,” the lawyer added.

Eastern Presiding Magistrate Peter Law sentenced Fedelita to 12 months in prison for stealing from her employer but he reduced this to eight months because she pleaded guilty.

For overstaying, Fedelita was initially sentenced to three months in jail but this was reduced to one month and three weeks because of her guilty plea and because she surrendered to Immigration.

In total, Judge Law said the Filipino helper, who first came here in 2006, would serve nine months and three weeks in prison. Her chances of finding work again here are also dim now that she has a criminal record in HK.