A Taiwan court has sentenced two Hong Kong women each to five months in prison and 40 days' labour for theft, forgery and damage to the property of their Taiwanese landlord.
The penalty imposed on Tsang Lai-wun, 20, and Yao Hiu-tung, 19, in Taipei District Court is convertible to a fine of NT$150,000 (HK$38,600).
The pair pleaded guilty on April 30 to using fake Hong Kong identity cards to rent a flat in Taipei in January, among other crimes, a court official said yesterday.
"They also asked for forgiveness from the landlord for stealing a flat-screen television and damaging furniture in the apartment," the official said.
The pair visited Taiwan as tourists in January, but later used faked IDs to rent a flat, where they lived for more than a month without paying anything, the court heard.
They told the landlord they were waiting for money transfers from their parents in Hong Kong, but secretly moved out on February 24, leaving behind piles of rotting, fly-ridden food, used tissues and sanitary pads, according to an indictment by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.
In addition to stealing the 37-inch flat-screen television, the two broke a microwave oven and slashed a new sofa.
The official said they were arrested after their new landlord in New Taipei City watched a television report about the previous offences and reported them to police.
They later sought to settle the case out of court by paying compensation to the first landlord.
The court passed down a lighter sentence since they repented and had no criminal record in Taiwan, the official said. They were allowed to lodge an appeal, he added.