The Eastern Magistrates' Court on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipina domestic worker who has been accused of stealing toiletries from her employer told a court last Thursday she had been abused by her employer’s husband.

Thelma Damiago, who pleaded not guilty to attempted theft in the Eastern Magistrates’ Court, told the court that the employer made up the case to stop her from reporting to police the verbal and physical abuse she had suffered from the employer’s husband, reported.

The defense lawyer told the court that the woman had decided to quit only two months into her two-year contract because she could no longer tolerate her “bad-tempered” male employer. In an audio recording played to the court, a man was heard shouting angrily at Damiago and calling her “stupid.”. At one point, Damiago was heard saying: “Sir, don’t hurt me, sir, please don’t hurt me” when the man allegedly hit her in the neck with a plastic folder.

She was heard telling another woman: “Sir hit me in my neck with a folder.” The woman, who the female employer admitted “sounds like me,” simply said: “What?” The defense counsel said the audio was recorded by the defendant one day last September before she handed in her resignation. The prosecution tried to exclude the audio and a longer handwritten version of the resignation letter the defense lawyer presented just before the trial, but Magistrate Leona Chan accepted them.

Prosecution lawyer Alexander Cheung suggested to the maid that she made up the letter after police arrested her, but the Filipina insisted it was the first resignation she handed to her employer on September 22 last year. The defendant said her employer did not sign it the first resignation letter and allegedly ordered her to write a shorter letter stating she was quitting “due to personal issues.”

The female employer, who lives in Repulse Bay with her husband and their two children, said in her testimony she was unhappy with Damiago’s work, her second maid who did the cooking and cleaning, because it was “below my standard.” She said that on October 15 last year, while she was looking for a new pair of running shoes, her other maid Jazel Urbanes told her she had seen the defendant put the shoes in her luggage.

She later checked the contents of the defendant’s bag and found the toiletry set she had bought in Thailand and a pack of dried cranberry. She claimed she found the shoes but these were not included in the charge sheet against Damiago. Magistrate Chan reserved her verdict for February 13.

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