A 37-year-old Filipino domestic worker pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing a total of HK$350 (US$44) from her employer in Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Joyce Atonen, who arrived in Hong Kong in July, was convicted of stealing HK$200 and HK$150 on separate occasions from a drawer of her employer’s bedroom in an apartment at Bright View Court, Argyle St., Kowloon City, sunwebhk.com reported.

The female employer surnamed Chan reportedly put HK$1,000 (US$128) in the drawer in mid-September but later found that HK$200 was missing.

Suspecting that her domestic worker took the money, Chan marked the remaining cash with a small tag. The employer checked the money again on October 2 and noticed that the tag had moved and that another $150 was missing.

Chan dismissed the defendant on Oct 3 and reported the theft to the police on Oct 8.

The defendant was arrested and investigated at the Hung Hom Police Station on Oct 14 and was charged with theft the next day.

The prosecution told the court that the defendant, a mother of five, had admitted taking the money because she needed it for her expenses.

The defense lawyer asked for leniency as the defendant is the sole breadwinner in her family, and she has three younger children who are still going to school.

Magistrate Vivian Wong told the defendant that theft was a breach of trust, a serious offense. But she noted that the amount stolen was small and a fine was appropriate.

She fined Atonen $1,000.