Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps
Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps

A 33-year-old female tutor pleaded guilty in the District Court on Tuesday to four counts of theft and three counts of obtaining property by deception.

Lau Ching-yee stood accused of stealing money from students, parents and domestic workers, impersonating a teacher working for a prestigious school, and stealing students’ information from a tutorial center in a crime spree that began in late 2015.

The court heard that Lau told a parent that she could tutor her 15-year-old son in December 2015. Although the teenager did not want to take the tutorial session, Lau showed up at his home and gave a private tutorial class while his parents were out.

After the class, Lau charged him HK$900 (US$115) as a tutoring fee and refused to give a change after taking HK$1,000 from the boy. Lau also took HK$9,000 from a drawer in the home, Apple Daily reported.

Lau was also accused of stealing a total of HK$8,000 worth of valuables and cash from students’ parents and domestic workers in two other cases.

In addition, she was accused of stealing the personal information of 18 students from a tutorial center and purporting to be a schoolteacher to persuade parents to hire her as a private English tutor.

Lau was arrested in January 2016 but was granted bail. She later told a parent that she could provide a free tutorial class to her child but then  charged the woman HK$840 after the class.

Lau, a single woman living with her mother and younger brother in Tuen Mun, held a bachelor’s degree in education, Sing Tao Daily reported. In 2012, she was diagnosed of obsessive compulsive disorder.

She was jailed in 2013 for fraud and in 2015 for the use of a false instrument.

Lau’s lawyer said the woman was not taking any medication at the time she committed the crimes, hoping the judge would not to send her to Siu Lam Hospital, which serves patients with intellectual disabilities.

Deputy District Judge Ernest Lin said he would hand down a sentence on August 8, pending psychiatric and background reports. Lau was remanded in custody in Siu Lam Hospital.