Woman, 28, jailed seven weeks for maid abuse

A sales associate who abused her Indonesian maid was jailed for seven weeks on Thursday.

Woo Wai Yeng, 28, had pleaded guilty to slapping and using a wooden scratcher and metal bar to hit Indonesian domestic worker Nuryanti, 29, at her flat in Pending Road on Nov 30, 2011. She also admitted to slapping the maid, pulling her hair and hitting her head against the living room wall a few times on Dec 2 that year.

The court heard that on Nov 30, 2011, Woo returned home from shopping and noticed that the victim had put the clothes bought on the dining table and food items on the chair.

Angry at her, she slapped her. When the maid pushed her away, Woo used a wooden scratcher to hit her on the arm and thighs until it broke. She then hit her thighs a few times with a metal pole.

Two days later, Woo returned home and noticed that the maid had fed her baby daughter formula milk instead of breast milk as previously instructed.

When she noticed that her baby's gum was bleeding, she confronted Ms Nuryanti and slapped her a few times. She also pulled her hair and hit the victim's head against the wall a few times. She stopped only when Woo's mother mediated.

Four psychiatric reports were submitted which showed, among other things, that Woo was suffering from borderline personality disorder and adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

Woo's lawyer Josephus Tan said his client had been plagued by endless trouble stemming mainly from family circumstances including an abused childhood and marital problems leading to a divorce.

Pleading for leniency, he urged the court to call for a probation report given Woo's mental condition. If not, he asked for a hefty fine or a four- to six-week jail sentence if the court were to jail her. The prosecution had asked for two months' jail on the two proceeded charges.

Ruling out probation, Community Court judge Ng Peng Hong agreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo that the primary sentencing consideration in the context of maid abuse should be deterrence.

Woo, who has two other charges considered, could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to $7,500 per charge.