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Changi Airport Group chairman’s former maid jailed 26 months for theft

SINGAPORE — A domestic helper was jailed 26 months on Monday (March 25), after she was convicted last week of stealing more than S$30,000 worth of items from the household of her employer, Changi Airport Group's chairman Liew Mun Leong.

Parti Liyani (pictured), 45, who had worked for Mr Liew Mun Leong's household for more than eight years, was found guilty of stealing S$30,000 worth of items from members of the family.

Parti Liyani (pictured), 45, who had worked for Mr Liew Mun Leong's household for more than eight years, was found guilty of stealing S$30,000 worth of items from members of the family.

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SINGAPORE — A domestic helper was jailed for 26 months on Monday (March 25), after she was convicted last week of stealing more than S$30,000 worth of items from the household of her employer, Changi Airport Group's chairman Liew Mun Leong.

Parti Liyani, 45, who is from Indonesia, has worked in Singapore since 1996. She was with the Liew household for more than eight years before Mr Liew terminated her employment in October 2016, when he suspected that she was stealing from him.

Parti’s lawyer, Mr Anil Balchandani, told the court on Monday that she intends to appeal against her conviction and sentence. District Judge Olivia Low increased her bail amount from S$10,000 to S$15,000.

She will return to the State Courts on April 24 for a pre-trial conference to deal with a last outstanding charge under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. It was stood down at the start of the 20-day trial.

When she was arrested on Dec 2, 2016 after returning to Singapore, items belonging to various members of the Liew family were found in her bags, including those of Mr Liew, his son Karl Liew, his daughter May Liew and his daughter-in-law Heather Lim.

The items included Longchamp bags, branded watches and two iPhones.

TOOK ITEMS ‘OUT OF GREED’

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Wee Hao sought at least three years’ imprisonment, while Mr Balchandani asked for 10 weeks’ jail.

DPP Tan said that Parti “spun a web of lies in a vain effort to escape” when she was caught.

“Over nine years, the accused squirreled away a large number of items from under the victims’ noses. The extent of her greed was such that she needed three jumbo boxes — in addition to her personal luggage — just to contain all the stolen items,” he added.

In mitigation, Mr Balchandani told the judge not to ignore the "unique circumstances" of Parti's employment as a foreign domestic worker, as compared with a Singaporean or permanent resident who could continue working to earn money.

Parti has been unable to work since her arrest more than two years ago.

He also objected to several of DPP Tan’s points. He noted that Parti had cooperated with the police and the prosecution had brought in two investigation officers to give testimony in order to “entertain the court”.

He also pointed out that the items were old, out-of-date or not functional — things that the Liews would most likely dispose of if they got the items back.

In her sentencing remarks, District Judge Low noted that the items had all been recovered and Parti was a first-time offender.

“However, the aggravating factors in this case include the sheer number of items stolen, the high value of some of the items, premeditation and the prolonged period over which the thefts took place,” she said.

The “quantity and variety” of the items showed that Parti took them “out of greed and not need”. She also took things “which she may have thought were old, spoilt or forgotten, but which she had no immediate need for”, the judge added.

For theft, Parti could have been jailed up to seven years and fined for each charge.

WHAT WAS STOLEN

Mr Liew Mun Leong’s items:

  • One Pioneer DVD player valued at S$1,000
  • One brown Longchamp bag valued at S$200
  • One blue Longchamp bag valued at S$200

Mr Karl Liew’s items:

  • 115 pieces of clothing valued at S$150 each
  • One blanket valued at S$500
  • Three bed sheets valued at S$100 each
  • Kitchenware and utensils worth S$300
  • One Helix watch valued at S$50
  • One damaged Gerald Genta watch with a broken strap, worth S$10,000
  • Two white iPhone 4s, with accessories, valued at S$2,056

Ms May Liew’s items:

  • One leather Vacheron Constantin watch, value unknown
  • One Swatch watch valued at S$75
  • One silver-coloured ring with blue shiny stones, worth S$150
  • One pair of silver earrings with a white opaque stone, worth S$150
  • One earring, worth S$75
  • Fashion accessories amounting to S$400
  • A pair of black Gucci sunglasses valued at S$250

Ms Heather Lim’s items:

  • One purple Prada bag worth S$1,000
  • One pair of black Gucci sunglasses valued at S$500

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