Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong tells court he had suspected maid of stealing for many years

Indonesian Parti Liyani, who had worked for her employer for eight years, faces four theft charges involving more than $50,000 worth of valuables. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Of all the things that had gone missing from his home, it was the loss of a portable power bank that upset Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong especially.

Mr Liew, 71, who was testifying in court on Thursday (Aug 16), said the power bank was given to him as a gift after he had delivered a guest lecture at a French university several years ago.

He took the "uniquely designed" device with him back to his home in Chancery Lane but could not find it just a few days later, said Mr Liew on the ninth day of the trial of Indonesian maid Parti Liyani, who is accused of stealing from Mr Liew's home.

"I was very upset," he told the court.

Parti, 44, who had worked for the family for eight years, faces four theft charges involving more than $50,000 worth of valuables, including a $25,000 Gerald Genta watch, two iPhones and a Gucci wallet. The items were allegedly uncovered from the three boxes that she had packed after she was asked to leave in 2016.

Mr Liew told the court that he had instructed his wife Ng Lai Peng, his son Karl Liew Kai Lung and daughter-in-law Heather Lim Mei Ern to terminate Parti's employment on Oct 28 2016 while he was overseas.

He said he made the decision after many years of things going missing in the house. "I have, in my heart, suspected her (of stealing) for many years," he said.

When questioned by Parti's lawyer Anil Balchandani on why he did not act earlier, Mr Liew said he had suggested terminating her employment to his wife, but Madam Ng told him it may not have been Parti who stole the items. "So I tolerated (it) for many years," he added.

A day after Parti left, Mr Liew returned home and was informed that the family's belongings were found in the three sealed boxes. He then decided to file a police report to prevent Parti from returning to Singapore to "possibly steal from other families".

Mr Liew also testified that there was a low probability that his neighbours or his wife would have thrown away his Longchamp bags, which he often purchased while travelling overseas.

He told the court that though the bags are inexpensive, they are "very durable and useful" and he "cannot imagine that someone would throw them away".

In April, Parti had told the court that some of the items she had allegedly stolen had been salvaged from trash bags left behind by Mr Karl Liew after he moved out of his father's house to his own home in early 2016.

On Thursday, Mr Anil suggested that Mr Liew's family had actually discarded the items and "decided now that they want it back". Mr Liew disagreed.

The lawyer also suggested that Mr Liew had "trumped up" his police report with details such as him discovering photos of Parti with other men. He had also told the police that he was worried that the men might cause a nuisance or break into his home, said Mr Anil.

Mr Liew vehemently objected, saying he "has no reason to fix anyone".

He added that he was only trying to fulfil his duty as a citizen by reporting a theft in his home.

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