Indonesian woman fined $1,500 for stalking neighbour

Linda would not stop stalking despite warnings and also left rubbish on Ms Chua's car. She felt she had been "disrespected".
Linda would not stop stalking despite warnings and also left rubbish on Ms Chua's car. She felt she had been "disrespected".

Housewife started harassment after being told not to talk to neighbour's maid

For three months, a housewife stalked her neighbour and left rubbish on her car nine times.

All because Linda, who goes by one name, was told by Ms Chua Seow Chin to stop talking to Ms Chua's maid. Even when Linda was warned to stop stalking her neighbour, she refused.

Yesterday, the mother of two was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to unlawfully stalking Ms Chua, 33, in a case that had District Judge Low Wee Ping describing Linda's acts as "absurd".

The 40-year-old had engaged in acts associated with stalking in the open carpark beside Block 34, Teban Gardens Road, between April 22 and July 24 this year.

A court heard it started after Linda approached the maid with an offer of used clothes and told her to send them back to Indonesia.

But the maid declined and told her employers instead. That was when Ms Chua and her husband approached Linda and told her to stop talking to the maid.

Linda felt she had been "disrespected" and decided to teach her neighbour a lesson. Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said Linda would become very angry whenever she saw Ms Chua's car.

She would interfere with the vehicle, even pushing the mirrors back on two occasions, with the intention of causing distress to Ms Chua.

After Ms Chua parked the car for the night, she would find rubbish consisting of unknown items on her vehicle the next morning.

Some of the rubbish were in plastic bags but on two occasions, the car was found stained with curry and orange-coloured sugar.

Ms Chua and her family filed multiple police reports and sought the help of community leaders.

A camera eventually revealed the stalker's identity.

DPP Pang said even though Linda was warned multiple times, she did not stop. "The underlying dispute was entirely frivolous and did not justify harassment of the victim over a course of three months," the DPP said.

Judge Low said Linda should perhaps seek some psychological help.

"I can infer that the victim must have been traumatised by your so many repeated acts over such a long period of three months," he added.

He also said although this case might not seem as serious as other criminal cases, in the context of an urban society like Singapore, where people live very closely with neighbours, it was important to educate the public.

Pleading for a light fine, Linda said through an Indonesian interpreter that she was very remorseful for what she had done and promised not to repeat it. She was given until Dec 30 to pay the fine.

The maximum penalty for stalking is a $5,000 fine and 12 months' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesian woman fined $1,500 for stalking neighbour'. Print Edition | Subscribe