Maid jailed for theft, tainting water

About two weeks after stealing money from her employer, a Myanmar domestic worker added a corrosive substance into an electric kettle used to store drinking water.

For the two offences in February this year, to which she pleaded guilty, Khin Aye Sein, 24, was yesterday sentenced to a total of 30 months and two weeks in jail.

A district court heard that Aye Sein stole $90 from her employer, Madam Lim Khee Koon, 59, at her Holland Grove View house on Feb 4. She hid the money in the sole of her slipper.

On Feb 17, Madam Lim went to the market after making soup for her two-year-old grandson. When she returned about an hour later, she made some tea but it turned black and had an unusual smell.

She then poured water from the electric kettle and noted that there were a lot of bubbles. Worried, she checked on the soup and found that it smelled bad and was black as well. There were also white crystals on the inner surface of the pot.

She told her son later that day and called the police. Investigations showed that Aye Sein had earlier added a pinch of drainpipe cleaner to the electric kettle, knowing that it would cause harm.

Aye Sein told police that she did it "to make the victim angry", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Wuan. Asked by the court why, she said her employer nagged at her.

A Health Sciences Authority report said the corrosive chemicals in the cleaner could damage skin and mucous membranes.

Aye Sein could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for theft; and jailed for up to five years and fined for the other offence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'Maid jailed for theft, tainting water'. Print Edition | Subscribe