A magistrate yesterday warned the parents of a private tutor who stole and wore her employer's designer clothes to take better care of their daughter when he sentenced her to 180 hours of community service. 'I hope you parents can look after her and make up for her future, and whatever you didn't do in the past, you should do that now,' Magistrate Winston Leung Wing-chung told Mak Hoi-wah, father of Grace Mak Kwan-sin, 27. Mr Mak, an associate professor at City University and a political activist who ran in the election for National People's Congress Hong Kong deputies in January, thanked the magistrate for giving his daughter a chance to rehabilitate herself and pledged to learn from the mistake. Grace Mak, who cried throughout yesterday's sentencing, had pleaded guilty in Eastern Court to one count of theft. Defence counsel Raymond Yu Chiu-cheuk said in mitigation that Mak, who has a master's degree in education psychology, had become deeply attached to her eight-year-old student who suffered from learning disabilities, and had begun to identify as the child's mother, whose clothes and effects she stole. Mak, who the court heard suffered a reactive depressive psychosis, raised the family's suspicions when she walked around their flat in Garden Road, Central, in the mother's clothes, the prosecution said earlier. Mak was later caught on a pin-hole camera leaving the house on December 5 with six items - a Chanel dress, a Chanel T-shirt, two Chanel handbags, a diamond necklace and a Van Cleef & Arpels chain worth a total of HK$119,000. But the mother wrote to Mr Leung on the eve of Mak's sentencing, claiming Mak had in fact taken goods 10 times the value submitted to the court and her misdeeds had deeply traumatised her daughter, who now needed psychiatric treatment. The magistrate, however, was sceptical of her claims. 'It is normal that the child may feel upset that her 'big sister' can no longer play with her, but it defies common sense that she would need to see a psychiatrist as a result.' Mr Leung also ignored the mother's allegation that her true loss amounted to more than HK$2 million. 'We must stick to the content of the charges,' he said. 'As to suggestions that some of the T-shirts cost up to HK$10,000 each, there was no proof that [the defendant] knew of their true value.' Citing various reports on Mak's background and her psychological status, Mr Leung said he was convinced that she did not have an obsession with fashion brands or an 'undesirable consumption habit'. He said he believed she had not committed the offence out of greed or vanity, but because she was sick. Mr Yu said earlier that Mak had been forbidden to cry after receiving corporal punishment from her mother when she was young. She had learned to suppress her emotions and had experienced hair loss because she believed her mother loved her brother more than her, he said.