17 months more imprisonment period for OFW’s infamous HK$14.6M theft case

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The High Court, Admiralty, Hong Kong

The first thing Nones Carmelita Galay (as the court listed her name) wanted to do after serving her sentence of 4 years and 11 months given to her by the court for the HKD14.6 Million worth of thefts was to reunite with her only child. But after yesterday’s hearing, July 19, that day has been postponed, with the High Court deciding to add 1 year and 5 months to her sentence.

 The three honorable judges, Hon Zervos JA, Hon M. Poon JA, together with Court of Appeal judges Hon Anthea Pang and Hon Maggie Poon,  decided to give her 6 years and 4 months of imprisonment instead of the previous sentence given to her of 4 years and 11 months.

At the High Court hearing, the Secretary for Justice submitted four grounds in application to review the sentence given to her in a case of 14 Million theft of jewelry from her former employer, David Liang Chong-Hou, director of Macao Dragon Company and former executive director of New World Development. The four following grounds were explained at the court:

  1. the learned judge erred in departing from the sentencing guidelines without justification
  2. the learned judge failed to sufficiently consider the aggravating features and the overall culpability of the respondent
  3. the learned judge erred in giving a further discount for the respondent’s previous good character on top of the one-third discount and
  4. the learned judge erred in giving an exclusive discount on account of the respondent’s personal circumstances

After the presentation of the grounds of the review of the sentence in the morning, the three honorable judges returned in the afternoon session and delivered their decision. Honorable Zerbvis JA further explained that they will give the reasons for their decision in two weeks’ time.

 Looking back, Nones Carmelita Galay (as the court listed her name), was charged with six counts of theft, contrary to section 9 of the Theft Ordinance, Cap 210, and handling stolen property, contrary to section 24 of the same ordinance. The case was heard at the High Court on 7 September 2021 and Nones was sentenced to 4 years and 11 months.

The charges were as follows:

(1)  Charge 1, Theft, 1st accused

Between 17 June 2018 and 27 July 2019, theft of 8 necklaces, 7 bangles, 11 pairs of earrings and one single earring, 2 bracelets, one 50 grams gold bar, one 187 grams gold bar, 10 rings, and 31 gold coins. (2)  Charge 2, Theft, 1st accused Between 27 July 2019 and 11 August 2019, theft of 2 Piaget watches. (3)  Charge 3, Theft, 1st accused Between 1 June 2019 and 4 September 2019, theft of one watch, 2 bangles, 7 earrings, and one necklace. (4)  Charge 4, Theft, 1st accused 4 September 2019, theft of 23 necklaces, 3 bracelets, 11 pairs of earrings and one single earring, one brooch, 11 pendants, 5 rings, 3 watches, 2 bangles, $4,000 cash and other jewelry in the total of $120,000 value, and some costume jewelry valued at $3,000.(5)  Charge 5, Theft, 1st accused Between 3 June 2018 and 18 February 2019, theft of six necklaces, six rings, nine bangles, four pairs of earrings, two bracelets, and one pendant. 6)  Charge 6, Theft, 1st accused Between 13 May 2018 and 2 June 2019, theft of three bangles, 7 bracelets, 2 pairs of earrings, 3 single earrings, one pendant, 2 necklaces, and 4 rings.

On September 7, last year, the court sentenced Nones to 4 years and 11 months imprisonment.