A SALESMAN who pawned expensive watches he took from his employer to finance gambling and extra-marital affairs was yesterday sentenced to three years' jail. The District Court was told that Cheung Wing-sum helped himself to 26 watches from the prestigious Precision Watch Co and pawned them for $500,000. He confessed to the manager when the company's Swire House shop was forced to carry out a stock check following a robbery on May 18 in which an armed gang escaped with $10 million worth of goods. The bandits opened fire during the raid, killing a young woman and injuring three other people. Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Lugar-Mawson said stealing from an employer was a serious breach of trust and deserved severe punishment. Cheung's actions were pre-meditated and his motives for theft should attract no sympathy from the court, he said. The judge said the fact that Cheung confessed was a powerful mitigating factor, but with the stock check imminent he had little option. Cheung, 42, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of theft. The court heard that Precision gave some customers approval to take watches from the premises for trial and also provided a repair service. Between December 28 last year and May 18 this year, Cheung signed out the 26 watches and pawned them at various shops. During this period, five of them - valued at $72,000 - were recovered. Precision recovered all watches from the pawnshops when it learned of the offences. Cheung had claimed he lost all the money through gambling in Macau and through extra-marital affairs in China. But the court was told that his estranged wife and relatives had helped him repay $145,000. His lawyer, Andy Lam, accepted that Cheung's actions were a breach of trust. Appealing for a suspended sentence, Mr Lam said Cheung wanted to pay back the outstanding $186,000 but would be unable to do so if he was sent to prison.