3rd charge

Maid accused of theft, then acquitted: CAG chief's daughter's two watches were counterfeit ones

In a detailed 100-page judgment on Friday, a High Court judge acquitted a former domestic worker of stealing from the affluent family that she worked for. Justice Chan Seng Onn laid out the reasons why a police report may have been made against her, and why he believed her testimony.

Ms Parti Liyani was accused of stealing two watches, various fashion accessories including rings and earrings, and a pair of Gucci sunglasses from Mr Liew Mun Leong's daughter, Cheng May.

Ms Parti said she had found the watches in Ms Liew's rubbish bin.

They were counterfeit; one, a "Vacheron Constantin", had been bought from a Shanghai street vendor in the 2000s, while the other was a Swatch that Ms Parti said she found in 2012.

Ms Liew said she had not discarded the watches. Justice Chan, however, accepted the defence's argument that "as an investment banker from an affluent family, it makes it probable that May had discarded these counterfeit watches given her 'social status' by 2012".

As for the fashion accessories, Ms Liew said she last saw them in 2004 before leaving for the United States and did not throw them away after she returned in 2010.

Ms Parti said she bought some of the earrings and found most of the accessories in Ms Liew's rubbish bin in 2011 or 2012.

The judge said the prosecution had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Liew had not discarded the accessories. As for the sunglasses, Ms Parti said she found them in her room when she started working for the family. Other maids had worked for the family before her.

The judge said Ms Parti may have accidentally packed them with her other belongings given the short amount of time she had to pack.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2020, with the headline 'Daughter's two watches were counterfeit ones'. Subscribe