Maid who cooked up kidnap hoax jailed for two weeks

A runaway maid struggling to adapt to life in Singapore wanted to be sent back to the agency that hired her out and called police to say she had been kidnapped.

Yati, a 37-year-old Indonesian national who goes by one name, called Sengkang Neighbourhood Police Centre on her mobile phone to claim that she had been abducted by three dark-skinned men who dragged into a car then locked her in a dark room on the sixth or 12th floor of a building.

Police spent 18 hours looking for her, tracing her number to two locations in Ang Mo Kio before finding her loitering in another location in the area.

Through a translator, she admitted to them that she had cooked up the hoax on Jan 9 and on Monday she was jailed two weeks for transmitting false information to police.

In sentencing her, Community Court Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said that while the police had spent a substantial amount of time and resources in trying to locate her, he also considered that a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health had found that Yati was suffering from "adjustment reaction with depression".

He added: "You were unable to adjust and cope with the working conditions here and the psychiatric report stated that there was a causal link between your mental condition and the commission of the offence."

The judge ordered the jail term to start from Jan 11, the date she was remanded.

The police prosecutor told The Straits Times that the maid had only recently started work for the household in Sengkang.

She could have been fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.