Indonesian domestic helper who stole jewellery and other valuables worth about HK$500,000 from actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi has been jailed for 18 months.
Rospeni, 30, was in financial difficulty and found the valuables spread around the flat a temptation, the District Court heard yesterday.
The helper pleaded guilty to stealing three handbags, two diamonds, six rings, five bracelets, three pairs of earrings, four necklaces, some pendants and three pairs of shoes, estimated to be worth HK$561,400 in total.
A total of 28 items were taken from Cheung’s bedroom, bathroom and the flat’s living room between February 2016 and March 2016.
Rospeni worked for the actress in her Century Tower apartment in Central from March 2014 to June 2016.
The theft came to light when Philip Leung Siu-lap, the actress’s assistant, inspected the maid’s luggage on June 28 – the last day of her employment.
He found a red handbag containing several pieces of jewellery, which were wrapped in tissue paper and placed inside three pouches.
Leung also found from the helper’s luggage seven recycle bags containing two handbags and three pairs of shoes.
The assistant suspected that the items belonged to Cheung. Rospeni was arrested after the case was reported to police.
Rospeni admitted under caution that she had stolen from her employer, the court heard.
In mitigation, lawyer Adrian Yeung said his client came from a poor family and was facing financial difficulties.
The helper earned HK$4,000 a month, the lawyer said.
“The valuables spread around in the flat were a temptation to her,” Yeung said, who noted that the items had been recovered.
But judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che asserted that the theft was serious and sentenced the maid to 18 months’ imprisonment.
Cheung did not attend the trial of her former maid.
The award-winning Hong Kong actress, 36, is the ex-wife of actor Nicholas Tse. They have two young sons – Lucas and Quintus Tse.
Cheung’s career began in the 1990s when she was cast in a television commercial advertising lemon tea.
She won instant fame after starring in Stephen Chow Sing-chi’s highly acclaimed blockbuster King of Comedy in 1999.
Cheung subsequently made several more hugely popular films, including Fly Me to Polaris in 1999 that earned her the award for “best newcomer” at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
She also ventured into a singing career before the turn of the century, with her first Cantopop album Any Weather.
Cheung starred in romantic drama Lost in Time and fetched the award for Best Actress at the 23rd Hong Kong Film Awards in 2004.
Cheung has earned HK$70 million in 2014, making her number nine in the top ten list of Hong Kong’s highest-earning entertainment celebrities in the year, Wikipedia says.