An accounts clerk stole more than $1.8 million from her employer over a six-year period to repay gambling debts her mother owed to loansharks, a court heard yesterday. Eliza Leung Ping-sum, 27, stole $1,843,261 between March 1995 and last April from the Sincere Hats Factory Limited by altering the firm's pay cheques. She had worked at the factory since 1993. Leung admitted 31 counts of theft at the District Court. Prosecutor Richard Ma said the matter did not come to light until May last year, when Leung's supervisor, Lai Ching-ping, noticed the discrepancy between bank statements and the company's records. Alan So, defending, told the court Leung had committed the offences because she felt she had no other way of getting money to repay debts her mother owed to loansharks. Mr So added Leung's parents had divorced because her father found his wife's gambling habit intolerable. Leung's husband, with whom their four-year-old daughter lives, had also left her, feeling she had been stupid to continue repaying her mother's debts, and intended to file for divorce once his wife's court case was over, the barrister said. Leung's mother had given her daughter's name and address to loansharks on some occasions, Mr So said. 'The accused worried about her family, as the loansharks had threatened to hurt them if she failed to repay the money,' he added. But Judge Fergal Sweeney questioned why the accused had not reported the loansharks' harassment to police. Judge Sweeney adjourned sentencing until April 8.