Maid-basher diagnosed as 'unstable'

Ng Bee Lan, 43, was ordered to undergo treatment for nine months for her mental state.
Ng Bee Lan, 43, was ordered to undergo treatment for nine months for her mental state. ST FILE PHOTO

She had punched the Filipina, hit her head with a water bottle and beat her with a ruler

The mother of two punched her Filipino maid, hit her head with a water bottle and even beat her with a plastic ruler.

Ng Bee Lan, however, escaped jail time and was yesterday ordered instead to undergo treatment for a period of nine months for her mental condition. The 43-year-old was diagnosed by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as having an "emotionally unstable personality disorder and recurring depression" .

Pleading for leniency, Ng's lawyer, Mr S. S. Dhillon, said she had tried to kill herself four times in the past. He also highlighted an IMH report which said that Ng had a history of harming herself since the age of 19.

The report noted that her mental disorder likely contributed to her offences.

Ng, who looked relieved as the sentence was read, has also voluntarily paid the victim $7,650 for salary owed to her.

In August 2012, Ng was angry with her maid, Ms Jinky Berondo Cueva, for not preparing Milo for her two daughters, then aged five and three, quickly enough.

She used an aluminium water bottle to hit the maid - who was 32 then - twice on the head, causing bleeding. She also hit the back of the victim's head when she was doubled over in pain.

Three months later, Ng used a plastic ruler to hit the victim's right palm four times and twice on the forehead after getting angry over household issues.

The victim suffered cuts on the forehead, but was not given a chance to seek medical treatment.

A few days later - on Nov 18 - Ng got angry after the victim purportedly failed to complete her tasks on time and also for damaging a pair of scissors.

She punched the maid in the face multiple times.

On Nov 20, Ms Cueva decided to escape with another recently hired domestic helper from Indonesia.

They sought help from the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

The matter was reported to the Ministry of Manpower the following day.

Two other charges of maid abuse were taken into consideration during Ng's sentencing.

The maximum punishment for voluntarily causing hurt to a domestic helper is three years' jail and a $7,500 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Maid-basher diagnosed as 'unstable''. Print Edition | Subscribe