With employers’ help, Pinay in Tseung Kwan O is acquitted of theft  

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Kwun Tong Magistracy


WITH the help of her Chinese employers who paid for her lawyer and a psychiatrist, a 40-year-old Filipino domestic helper was acquitted of the charge of stealing from a Wellcome supermarket in Tseung Kwan O.


Kwun Tong Magistrate Don So Man-lung ruled that M.B.N.—who has maintained a clear record since she started working in Hong Kong in 2000—likely forgot to pay for the $363.70-worth of goods from the supermarket.


“The [testimony] of the psychiatrist was not challenged and that [because of a lot of stress], you most likely forgot to pay, and did not intend not to pay, and that you did not steal,” Judge So said in his verdict on August 29.


The prosecution alleged that the defendant attempted to steal several items, including a pack of pork ribs, luncheon meat, a pack of beef ribs, some sauces, and a pack of pineapple.


The incident happened at around 8 a.m. on July 12. The domestic worker paid for four cup noodles but left the supermarket without paying for the other items.


The Wellcome manager intercepted her and asked her in Cantonese if she paid for those items that she put in one of her two recycled bags. When M.B.N. did not answer, she was taken to the manager’s room and the police were called.


In her defense, the Filipino told the court that she was having a painful menstrual period that day, and that she was depressed after learning that her husband’s mistress was pregnant and that her eldest daughter hurt her knee.


She also told the court that she was diagnosed with endometriosis, which causes pelvic pain, especially during a menstrual period.


“I also asked my eldest daughter what her father planned to do with his mistress’ baby and I was told that he planned to bring the baby to our home in the Philippines,” the Filipino testified in court while sobbing.


When asked why she still went to the supermarket if she was in so much pain, the defendant said her employers, for whom she had been working for nearly eight years now, had always been kind to her and that was why she wanted to do her job well.


“I also love my eight-year-old ward, and the love that I could not give my daughters, I give to my employers’ son,” she said.


Her female employer was seen wiping away tears as the Filipina gave her testimony. The male employer and the defendant’s ward were also present in court during trial.


A psychologist, who was paid by the Filipino’s employers to diagnose the defendant, told the court that lack of concentration or focus was one of the symptoms of a major depressive disorder.


Her male employer also told the court that in recent months, the helper seemed “more quiet” than usual.