Couple pleads guilty to abusing Indonesian maid who lost 20kg in 7 months

Couple Nuraini Hassan (left) and Mohamad Al-Hafiz Nordin, who faced a total of nine charges of maid abuse, pleaded guilty on Thursday, March 6, 2014, to assaulting their domestic worker who was 20kg lighter by the time she escaped from her
Couple Nuraini Hassan (left) and Mohamad Al-Hafiz Nordin, who faced a total of nine charges of maid abuse, pleaded guilty on Thursday, March 6, 2014, to assaulting their domestic worker who was 20kg lighter by the time she escaped from her employers' flat. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A couple who faced a total of nine charges of maid abuse pleaded guilty on Thursday to assaulting their domestic worker who was 20kg lighter by the time she escaped from her employers' flat.

The abuse took place over a six-month period from February 2012 until the first week of August that year when the 34-year-old Indonesian climbed out of the third-floor flat in Punggol and leapt from the second floor.

Ms Yulianti's female employer, Nuraini Hassan, who is now pregnant, pleaded guilty to four charges while Nuraini's husband, Mohamad Al-Hafiz Nordin, admitted to two charges. Both are 30 and have two young children.

Nuraini had punched, slapped, kicked and scratched the maid with her fingernails while Al-Hafiz slapped and hit her, the court heard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Clement Chen said Ms Yulianti began working for the family for the first time in Singapore in January 2012. She was treated well for the first month before Nuraini began physically abusing her the following month until August that year.

On July 24, Ms Yulianti ate the bee hoon that was prepared by her employer at about 10pm. At about 3am the next day, during the Muslim fasting month, when the family was eating before they had to begin their fast, the victim told Nuraini that she had finished the bee hoon. Nuraini said the bee hoon was meant for the victim to open fast and no more food had been prepared for her.

Two hours later, the victim was hungry and ate four slices of bread. When she told her employer and offered to pay for the meal, Nuraini became angry. She scolded her, punched her in the eye, slapped her a few times and kicked her on the stomach.

Mr Chen said that on Aug 5, Nuraini scratched the victim's face with her fingernails for not ironing her dress earlier. The next day, Nuraini scolded and punched the victim on the face three times while the latter was sweeping the living room.

Two days later, Nuraini slapped the maid and kicked her in the stomach for mixing her own clothes with the family's in the laundry.

In April that year, Al-Hafiz learnt from his wife that the victim had used a rag meant to clean the family cat's cage to wipe some water that was spilled on the floor. The couple scolded her and he slapped the victim once on the face.

On Aug 5, he hit the victim's head hard twice after accusing her of not properly cleaning a baby milk bottle steamer. The court heard that she was not taught by Nuraini how to clean it. The victim was crying as she felt pain and was giddy after the assault.

Two days later she escaped from the flat when Nuraini and her daughter were sleeping and Al-Hafiz was at work. She suffered abrasions on her inner arm but managed to take a taxi to the maid agency to seek help.

The staff of the agency noted that Ms Yulianti weighed only 44kg compared to 64kg when she first started work.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo adjourned the case to April 4 pending submissions from the prosecutor and mitigation by the couple's lawyer.

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