14-month sentence for brutal, frequent attacks on maid

A sales executive convicted of 11 charges of abusing her Myanmar maid was sentenced to 14 months' jail yesterday.

Ang Lilian, 45, is out on $15,000 bail, pending her appeal to the High Court. The mother of two was ordered to pay compensation of $3,150 to Ms Moe Myint Aye, now 28, whose employment was cut short as a result of Ang's actions.

The maid later found another job.

Ang was cleared of one charge of using criminal force on Ms Moe Myint, who began working for the household in Block 59, Marine Terrace, in January 2013.

The offences came to light on May 7 after a public-spirited neighbour noticed her injuries and alerted the police.

Ang was found guilty last month after a 10-day trial.

She had used her fist and objects such as a dustpan, a shower head and a cane to hit Ms Moe Myint. The attacks were targeted mainly at her head and face. She would pull the victim's hair, throw her to the ground and slap her repeatedly as well.

Ms Moe Myint testified that her life was "very bad'' and Ang would attack her for any slight mistake. She was assaulted almost every day from mid-April to May 1. Deputy Public Prosecutors Ruth Teng and James Chew, who had sought a sentence of 14 to 16 months, argued that the serious injuries were a significant aggravating factor.

Ang's repeated blows resulted in severe bruising around both of Ms Moe Myint's eyes.

"This is not a case of a light smack or a quick shove. This is a case where the victim was systematically brutalised by the accused,'' said the prosecution.

District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said Ang's conduct was particularly egregious. The abuses were prolonged and showed a pattern of escalating severity.

The judge rejected the defence's contention that the victim had fabricated all the incidents of abuse to engineer the premature termination of her employment contract.

In his judgment grounds last week, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon warned that maid abusers may face longer jail terms when he dismissed a man's appeal against a 14-week sentence for "wantonly bullying" a maid.

Ang could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to $7,500 per charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline '14-month sentence for brutal, frequent attacks on maid'. Print Edition | Subscribe