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Liew Mun Leong’s ex-maid found guilty of stealing items worth over S$30,000

SINGAPORE — There was no reason the family of Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong "would conspire to frame" their domestic helper for theft, a District Judge said as she delivered the verdict for a 19-day trial which began nearly a year ago.

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 various 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 various members of the family.

SINGAPORE — There was no reason the family of Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong "would conspire to frame" their domestic helper for theft, a District Judge said as she delivered the verdict for a 19-day trial which began nearly a year ago.

Parti Liyani, 45, an Indonesian who had worked for the household for more than eight years, was found guilty of stealing S$30,000 worth of items from various members of the family — including Mr Liew, his son Karl Liew, his daughter May Liew and his daughter-in-law Heather Lim. 

Parti, represented by defence lawyer Anil Balchandani, denied stealing the items, and also alleged that her former employers had brought the "false allegations" against her to prevent her from returning to Singapore. 

In delivering her verdict on Wednesday (March 20), District Judge Olivia Low found Parti guilty of four theft charges, adding that she did not find any reason to believe that the Liews and their driver would want to frame the helper for theft. 

"(The Liews) had in fact compensated her for the termination and (were) even willing to pay for the shipping of her items back to Indonesia,” District Judge Low said.

"On the contrary, the modus operandi of the accused was to take a variety of items from different family members thinking that these would go unnoticed by them,” she added.

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Parti’s employment was terminated on Oct 28, 2016, because Mr Liew Mun Leong had by then suspected her of stealing items from the family. 

The next day, the family opened three sealed boxes that were meant to be sent to Indonesia and found many items that belonged to them. 

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Parti was arrested when she returned to Singapore on Dec 2 that year, and her bags were found to contain more items belonging to the family, including Longchamp bags, branded watches and two iPhones. 

During the course of the trial, various members of the Liew family took the stand, including Mr Liew, his wife Ng Lai Peng and their children. 

District Judge Low said that she found the prosecution witnesses, which included the Liew family members, to be “largely credible and consistent”, even though they might have differed slightly on details of their items. 

FAMILY CONTACTED BY PARTI’S REPRESENTATIVES 

In her oral grounds, the judge noted that members of the Liew family and their driver Robin were contacted by Parti’s representatives. 

Madam Ng, for example, said that she was contacted a few times by the defence to “go out and talk about the case”. 

The Liews’ driver also testified to receiving missed calls and a text message from Mr Balchandani to “return his call” and that “there is no reason to be afraid”. 

The judge also noted that Parti attended a civil hearing where Mr Karl Liew was testifying. Parti looked at him and giggled, “which he perceived to be a message of intimidation”. 

CHARGE AMENDED, DEFENCE PROTESTS

On Wednesday, before she was to deliver her verdict, District Judge Low told the court that one of Parti’s charges would be amended. This was in relation to items belonging to Mr Karl Liew. 

The judge said that she had “some reasonable doubt” that all of the 120 clothing items listed in the charge sheet belonged to Mr Liew. It was thus amended to show 115 items instead. 

Two wallets said to be Mr Liew’s — a Gucci and a Braun Buffel — were also removed from the charge sheet. 

Mr Balchandani protested against the changes and applied to recall five witnesses to the stand, including Mr Karl Liew. 

District Judge Low dismissed the application, stating that it was “an attempt to further delay the trial and frustrate justice”. 

Another charge against Parti under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act was stood down at the start of the trial. 

Parti returns to court on Monday (March 25) for sentencing. For theft, she could be jailed up to seven years and fined for each charge.

STOLEN ITEMS

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 bedsheets 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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