In 2012, the defendant was sent to Castle Peak Hospital. Photo: Google Maps
In 2012, the defendant was sent to Castle Peak Hospital. Photo: Google Maps

A 33-year-old Hong Kong woman who stole money from students, parents and domestic workers was jailed for 30 months by the District Court in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island on Tuesday.

Lau Ching-yee had earlier been convicted of four counts of theft and three counts of obtaining property by deception, Oriental Daily reported. Lau was accused of a number of thefts, including HK$9,000 (US$1,150) from one student’s home and another HK$8,000 worth of valuables and cash from two other homes in December 2015.

She also impersonated a teacher working for a prestigious school and had stolen students’ information from a tutorial center since late 2015.

Lau pleaded for leniency on Tuesday, claiming she had been under great pressure to raise her family. In 2010, she needed to help her younger brother with his debts, which had later caused her to lose her primary-school teaching job. She took several part-time jobs including working 17 hours a day as a supermarket cashier.

In 2012, she failed to be offered another teaching job as she had falsely claimed that she had taught in certain famous schools. She tried to commit suicide but was rescued and sent to Castle Peak Hospital, a psychiatric center. She was diagnosed of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Deputy District Judge Ernest Lin said the court had no more sympathy for Lau, who was a pathological scammer and had carefully planned her crimes.

Lin said many people in society were under great pressure but no one could disregard other people’s rights and commit crimes. The judge added that psychiatric and background reports said the defendant’s mental illness was not related to her crimes, Apple Daily reported.

Read: Tutor pleads guilty to theft from students’ homes