Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong, who has accused his maid of stealing his family’s belongings, had previously misplaced some items and blamed the Indonesian, said the defence lawyer on Thursday (16 August).
Liew, 72, who was taking the stand in the trial of Parti Liyani, alleged that the Indonesian maid had tried to have his family unknowingly ship their own belongings to Indonesia.
Parti, 43, is contesting four charges of theft for allegedly stealing valuables from Liew, his daughter May Liew Cheng, his son Karl Liew and the younger Liew’s wife Heather Lim Mei Ern. She had worked for the family for eight years.
The allegedly stolen items, worth more than $50,000, included a DVD player valued at $1,000, two Longchamp bags worth $400, a Gerald Genta watch worth $25,000, two white iPhone 4 smartphones with accessories valued at $2,056, 120 pieces of male clothing valued at $150 each, and a $500 blanket.
On Thursday, Parti’s lawyer Anil Balchandi asked Liew if he had found things that he had misplaced before, referring to a pair of hearing aids which Liew lost in 2014.
“You were in a frantic position as it (the hearing device) was essential and you alerted your wife about it,” said Anil, adding that Liew’s wife, Ng Lai Peng, had accused the maid of stealing it.
But Parti found the device in one of the drawers eventually, said the lawyer. In response, Liew said he did not recall how the device was found.
When the lawyer suggested that Liew would blame Parti when things went missing most of the time, Liew replied, “Not true. This is rubbish. I disagree”.
During the trial, Liew also testified that several of his favourite items, including a small power bank that had been given to him by a French university after he gave a lecture, and a bag that he bought in Tokyo, had gone missing.
Liew, who is the former chief executive of developer CapitaLand, testified that as a jogger for the past 50 years, he would change his running shoes every six months. When the shoes started to go missing, he put padlocks on the cupboard where the shoes were stored.
Anil also suggested that Karl did not tell his father about the missing Gerald Genta watch as he had discarded the watch, which had a broken strap and a missing knob. Liew disagreed, saying the watch had “value” and would not have been thrown away.
While he was overseas, Liew instructed his son to let Parti go on 28 October 2016.
In an earlier tranche of the trial, Karl testified that on the day, he went to the family’s home at Chancery Lane with a staff member from Parti’s employment agency to convey the news to the maid.
After Parti was given two to three hours to pack, she insisted that the family send back three sealed boxes to Indonesia for her. According to Karl, Parti turned violent after he denied her request, adding that the staff member had to restrain her.
Karl later agreed to the request and the staff member led Parti out of the house. But Karl, his wife and his mother decided to open the boxes the next morning and allegedly discovered that some of their belongings were inside.
Liew, who returned to Singapore on 29 October, made a police report on the alleged theft committed by Parti the next day. When asked about the report, Liew said, “I think we should stop crime…let’s go to the law to settle this.”
When the lawyer suggested to Liew that he had “trumped up” the police report in order to “fix” Parti, Liew said there was no reason for him to do so.
“I said that a person who has committed crime…may have the inclination to commit the same crime (after coming back) and I’m trying to avoid that for the good of Singapore,” Liew said.
At the end of the cross-examination, Anil suggested that Liew did not want Parti to return to Singapore to “possibly make a complaint against” the Liews, and because she “knew the intimate running” of his family. Liew denied the lawyer’s claims.
The trial will continue on Friday with Ng and May Liew taking the stand.
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