The maid took an Octopus card and bought packets of chips at a vending machine. Photo: iStock

An Indonesian domestic worker was fined HK$100 (US$13) and ordered to leave Hong Kong within two weeks after admitting that she had taken money from her seven-year-old ward’s Octopus card to buy potato chips while the family were out to dinner.

The 30-year-old maid, named only as Densi, was hired six months ago to take care of the family of four, including the seven-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. She initially denied having used the Octopus card to buy seven packets of chips from a vending machine after the boy’s mother, Michelle, learned that its value had fallen by about HK$40.

Michelle said Densi had asked for leniency and others tried to persuade her not to report the matter to the police because the amount was only small, Next Magazine reported. However, Michelle believed that the mutual trust between the domestic worker and her employers had been destroyed, and that some other family might suffer from her actions if she was merely fired.

Michelle and her husband believed the incident had shown their children that any wrongdoing should be punished, no matter the amount of money.

Lau Ka-mei from the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions questioned whether the worker had been treated fairly during her arrest and trial, with an interpreter being provided when the policeman took her statement so she fully understood her rights.

Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convenor of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, said there should not be any translation problems, as the police and  judiciary always arranged for an interpreter when a worker was arrested.

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