Fairmont Hotel housekeeper stole $5,000 from red packets left in guest's room

Osmond Chia
The Straits Times
July 14, 2022

A housekeeping staff member of Fairmont Hotel stole almost $5,000 in cash that was kept in a safe box of a guest's room.

The money was packed in red packets that were meant for the victim's son, whose wedding was held at the hotel in Bras Basah.

Saravanan Kannan, 50, who is from Malaysia, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (July 13) to theft and was jailed for three months.

Court documents did not state whether Saravanan is still employed by the hotel, which has been contacted for comment.

The court heard that the victim, Madam Kuo Mei-Yi, 60, arrived in Singapore from Taiwan on April 24 this year with her sister to attend her son's wedding.

Madam Kuo placed close to $20,000 of cash in Singapore and Taiwanese currencies meant for her son in four red packets inside the safe in her hotel room.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ghopinath Kalimuthu said investigations found that Saravanan entered the victim's room to tidy it up at 1pm on April 26.

The DPP said: "While he was inside the room, he noticed the safe box was unlocked with a few red packets inside the safe.

"The accused looked through the red packets and found cash enclosed in them."

He took some of the cash, amounting to nearly $5,000.

He later changed $1,100 of the money into ringgit and spent it in Malaysia.

When Madam Kuo returned to the room, she saw that the safe was unlocked but was not suspicious then as all the red packets there.

She handed the first red packet to her son during the wedding reception at night.

Her son's wife later called to ask why she had packed such an odd amount of money - $7,401 - in the red packet.

The DPP said: "(Madam Kuo) realised that was not the amount of money that she put inside the first red packet. Hence, she decided to check the remaining red packets inside the safe."

She found that some NT$50,000 (S$2,340) was missing from the second and third red packets and reported the theft to the police and the hotel's security.

The accused was later interviewed and admitted to the theft.

The police retrieved around S$1,500 and NT$50,000 from the accused and returned the cash to Madam Kuo. The hotel's management returned the remaining $1,100 to her and deducted the amount from Saravanan's salary.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

The Straits Times

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