Couple jailed for starving maid: Previous maid abuse cases in Singapore

Chong Sui Foon and her husband Lim Choon Hong failed to comply with work pass conditions and provide adequate food to Madam Gawidan (right) for 15 months, causing her weight to fall from 49kg to 29.4kg.
Chong Sui Foon and her husband Lim Choon Hong failed to comply with work pass conditions and provide adequate food to Madam Gawidan (right) for 15 months, causing her weight to fall from 49kg to 29.4kg. PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, ST FILE

This article was first published on May 15, 2015, and updated on March 28, 2017

SINGAPORE - A couple who starved their Filipino maid by providing her with only two meals a day were on Monday (March 27) handed jail sentences. 

Freelance trader Lim Choon Hong, 47, got three weeks' jail and was also fined $10,000, while his wife Chong Sui Foon was jailed three months. 

Here is a look at past cases of high-profile maid abuse. 

Husband and wife jailed over years of maid abuse 


Husband Tay Wee Kiat faced 12 charges involving the couple's two maids, while Chia Yun Ling was convicted of hitting one of them. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A 14-day trial revealed the numerous ways that former regional information technology manager Tay Wee Kiat, 39, and his wife Chia Yun Ling, 41, had assaulted their Indonesian maid for almost two years. 

Tay was on March 11 sentenced to two years and four months in jail after he was convicted of all 12 charges. 

Nine of the charges were for causing hurt to Ms Fitriyah, 34, with the other three  for making his maid from Myanmar, Ms Moe Moe Than, slap Ms Fitriyah on the face; offering to pay Ms Fitriyah and send her home in exchange for not reporting his abuse; and instructing Ms Fitriyah to lie to the police that he did not abuse Ms Than.

Chia, meanwhile, got two months' jail for slapping Ms Fitriyah some time between June and December 2012 and punching her on the forehead on Dec 7 that year.

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Woman pressed heated spoon on maid's face, arms


Over a two-week period, Zinnerah Abdul Majeed also hit domestic helper May Thu Phyo  with a bamboo pole, a belt buckle and even a bicycle lock, leaving her with multiple injuries. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

All she did was break a cup while washing utensils in the kitchen. But that was enough reason for the domestic helper's employer, Zinnerah Abdul Majeed, to press a heated metal spoon on her arms around the last week of August 2015.

The helper, Ms May Thu Phyo, 23, had been working for the family for only about a month when the abuse started.

That was not the only punishment Ms May had to endure over a two-week period, a district court heard. Zinnerah had hit her with a bamboo pole, a belt buckle and even a bicycle lock, leaving her with multiple injuries.

On Nov 2, 2016, Zinnerah was jailed 20 months after pleading guilty to three counts of maid abuse at her home in Yishun Avenue 4.

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Mother-daughter pair jailed for abusing maid, leaving her with permanent disability


Jayasheela Jayaraman (left) and her mother, Anpalaki Muniandy Marimuthu were sentenced 12 months and 16 months' jail respectively for hurting the former's maid. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Housewife Anpalaki Muniandy Marimuthu, 65, and her daughter, warehouse supervisor Jayasheela Jayaraman, 43, were on Sept 23, 2016, jailed 16 months and 12 months respectively for hurting the latter's maid. 

Ms Sriyatun, 27, was left with a permanent disability in her left ear from the abuse.

Among the instances of abuse she was subjected to included being slapped for not carrying Jayasheela's shoes into the family's Bendemeer flat, having her swollen ear pinched before it healed and having her breast squeezed and twisted for being slow in her work. 

Anapalaki also hurt Ms Sriyatun with household objects on a few occasions. 

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Maid 'hit with hammer' for not cleaning toilet properly


Ms Khanifah (above) had been working for Zariah Mohd Ali and Mohamad Dahlan for about six months when the alleged abuses took place. She told the court she was hit on the head with a hammer at least five times.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Indonesian domestic worker Khanifah, 35, allegedly suffered various abuses at the hands of her female employer, who is accused of using an array of weapons to injure her. 

These included  a hammer, bamboo pole and pounder that knocked out or broke her teeth, leaving her with head wounds that are still visible, Ms Khanifah told a district court on April 18, 2016. 

The employer, Zariah Mohd Ali, 54, is being tried on 12 of 28 maid abuse charges. Zariah's husband, Mohamad Dahlan, 56, is also accused of hitting Ms Khanifah with the cover of a frying pan.

The alleged offences occurred at the couple's home in Woodlands Street 31 between June and December 2012, after Ms Khanifah had been working for them for about six months.

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Jail terms upped for couple who abused maid


Rosman Anwar (left) and his wife Khairani Abdul Rahman had their jail terms increased for the prolonged abuse of their Indonesian maid. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

A couple who routinely slapped their Indonesian maid and even threatened to send her to work in the sex trade in Batam had their jail terms increased after the prosecution won its appeal on Sept 25, 2015. 

Khairani Abdul Rahman, a 42-year-old customer service officer, had her four-week jail term doubled to eight. Her 47-year-old husband, senior logistics officer Rosman Anwar, had his jail term tripled from two weeks to six.

In allowing the prosecution's appeal, Judicial Commissioner See Kee Oon said the original sentences were manifestly inadequate for the prolonged nature of the abuse and the psychological and emotional toll on the maid.

In an earlier trial, the couple had been found guilty of causing hurt to Ms Solichah, 28. Khairani was convicted of three charges - two for slapping the maid and one for hitting her with a plastic stool. The husband was convicted on two charges - slapping the maid and pulling her hair.

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Woman jailed for joining mother in attack on maid; locking her in apartment


Chua committed both offences while under a mandatory treatment order for paranoid schizophrenia. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Chua Siew Peng, 44, was on May 5, 2016, sentenced to two months' jail for assaulting her Filipino domestic helper Jonna Memeje Muegue and keeping her locked in her sister's Bukit Timah condo on Oct 30, 2012. 

Chua's 75-year-old mother Lum Wai Lui had assaulted Ms Muegue for eating salmon not meant for her. Chua then entered the toilet and joined in by pulling the maid's hair and slapping her repeatedly.

Ms Muegue escaped escaped the following day by climbing out of the sixth-floor window, scaling the ledge and jumping onto the rooftop of the floor below - breaking her feet in the process.

Ms Muegue testified that Lum abused her between March/April 2012 and October that year by punching, slapping, kicking and hitting her head against a wall and pouring bleach on her hands and arms. She also said she was underfed and lost 10kg.

Lum, a retired radiograph and medicine technician, was given 21 months' probation after being convicted of maid abuse in 2015.

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Tutor jailed for 3-month abuse of maid

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Tutor Low Gek Hong, 37, repeatedly scratched the Myanmar maid on the face, arms and ears for being inefficient, and used a pair of scissors to poke the victim's left shoulder in February 2012. PHOTO: ST FILE

Tutor Low Gek Hong, 37, repeatedly abused her mother's 17-year-old maid over three months from December 2011 to February 2012, three months into the maid's employment at her mother's Tampines flat.

She repeatedly scratched the Myanmar maid on the face, arms and ears for being inefficient, and used a pair of scissors to poke the victim's left shoulder in February 2012 because the maid could not find a pillowcase that Low wanted changed. Low also punished the maid by kicking her, biting her, and hitting her with a metal hanger, including once pouring a mug of hot water onto the victim's back for falling asleep in the toilet.

Low, whose claim that she was suffering from depression when she abused the maid was rejected, was sentenced to nine months jail on April 29, 2015, and ordered to pay the maid $5,000 compensation.

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3 more months' jail for 'relentless tormentor' of maid

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Chan Huey Fern's case was said to be one of the most distressing maid-abuse cases. PHOTO: ST FILE 

Chan Huey Fern, 33, was on Sept 10, 2014, given three additional months' jail on top of her 21-month jail sentence for hitting the back of her Indonesian maid with a foldable chair.

She had initially been convicted in 2013 of abusing Ms Juwarti, then 22, at her Buangkok flat between June and September 2010.

Chan, who punched Ms Juwarti in the eye and chest, kicked her in the groin until the latter bled and stamped on her body on separate occasions, had her case labelled as "probably one of the most distressing domestic maid-abuse cases in Singapore" by trial judge Low Wee Ping.

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