Woman who hit maid for not hand-washing children's clothes gets three weeks' jail

Ho Mei Li, 28, was sentenced to 3 weeks jail for maid abuse by using her leg to step on her chest. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Ho Mei Li, 28, was sentenced to 3 weeks jail for maid abuse by using her leg to step on her chest. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A woman assaulted her maid for not hand-washing her children's clothes as instructed but using the washing machine instead.

Ho Mei Li, 28, who sells phone accessories, hit 36-year-old Indonesian Neni Lestari and stamped on her at a flat in Marsiling Drive on July 6 last year.

On Friday, Ho broke down in tears when District Judge Toh Yung Cheong sentenced her to three weeks' jail.

The court heard that the single mother who had returned to her flat drunk at about 7am that day flew into a rage when she found out that the maid had not done as told.

She hit the victim and stamped her on her chest several times as she was lying down. Fearing for her life, the maid fled when Ho locked herself in her bedroom along with the victim's personal belongings.

With the help of a passer-by, the victim proceeded to her maid agency and filed a police report. The maid suffered multiple contusions.

Ho had told the court earlier that she had had too much to drink and had also had an altercation with the maid earlier. The maid had told that she wanted to go back to her agent.

Pleading for leniency, Ho said she had no intention of hurting the maid severely and that she needed to take care of her two children, aged eight and three.

In passing sentence, Judge Toh said she had only been charged with a single incidence of violence and that to her good fortune the injuries were not serious, he said.

"Nevertheless, maid abuse is a very serious matter because the maid is in your flat, and in many ways, depends on you to provide her housing and food while she carries out her work," he said.

A second charge of pointing two knives at the maid was considered during her sentencing. She could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined $7,500 for maid abuse.