Convicted couple found guilty of abusing 2nd maid

Former regional IT manager Tay Wee Kiat and his wife, Chia Yun Ling, were yesterday found guilty of abusing their Myanmar maid. In 2017, they were given jail terms for abusing their other maid, an Indonesian.
Former regional IT manager Tay Wee Kiat and his wife, Chia Yun Ling, were yesterday found guilty of abusing their Myanmar maid. In 2017, they were given jail terms for abusing their other maid, an Indonesian.ST FILE PHOTO

A sales manager wedged a funnel into the mouth of one of her maids and forced a mixture of rice and sugar down her throat after the woman complained about not having enough to eat, a court was told.

Chia Yun Ling then ordered Ms Moe Moe Than to eat her own vomit when the domestic worker threw up. The Myanmar national, 32, complied.

Chia also caned the maid and threatened her by saying she would hire an assassin to kill her family members in Myanmar.

District Judge Olivia Low convicted Chia, 43, yesterday of eight assault charges and one count of using abusive words towards the maid. The judge also found the mother of three guilty of six offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. These included forcing the maid to perform her chores clad only in her bra and short pants on one occasion and failing to give her enough food.

Yesterday, Judge Low also convicted Chia's husband, former regional IT manager Tay Wee Kiat of six assault charges.

Chia and Tay had been in court in March 2017 for abusing their other maid, Ms Fitriyah, 34.

This resulted in Tay, 41, being sentenced to two years and four months' jail, while his wife was handed a two-month jail term for committing assault. The Indonesian, who goes by only one name, was then working in the same Yishun flat as Ms Moe Moe Than.

 

Tay's jail term was increased to three years and seven months, while Chia's sentence remained at two months, following a High Court appeal in March last year.

The couple remained free until the second trial, which concerned the abuse of Ms Moe Moe Than.

Judge Low said yesterday that Ms Moe Moe Than started working at the couple's house on Jan 8, 2012.

She testified during the 31-day trial that she was initially given rice and cabbage for meals, but was later provided with only plain rice and water.

The judge said: "She claimed that she was hungry enough to even eat leftover banana skin from the dustbin... Fitriyah confirmed that Moe Moe Than was subsequently only given white rice and the rice was sometimes mixed with sugar."

Judge Low also noted that a doctor had said Ms Moe Moe Than looked undernourished. When the maid told Chia she had not been given enough food, her employer force-fed her until she vomited.

Chia had also slapped and caned the maid. On one occasion, she ordered Ms Moe Moe Than to remove her shorts and underpants before caning her bare skin after some plastic boxes in a study room were found to be dusty.

Tay abused Ms Moe Moe Than through acts such as caning and kicking her while she was in a "push-up position".

He also ordered Ms Moe Moe Than and Ms Fitriyah to slap each other after claiming that they had moved a piece of cloth on an altar table in the flat without his permission.

The offences came to light when Ms Moe Moe Than returned to Yangon on Nov 12, 2012, and told her Myanmar agent about her plight.

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower was later alerted and it arranged for her to return here about a month later.

Ms Moe Moe Than was examined at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where she was found with injuries, including scars on her left forearm and right wrist.

Tay and Chia have been offered bail of $15,000 each. The two Singaporeans are expected to be sentenced on March 18.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2019, with the headline 'Convicted couple found guilty of abusing 2nd maid'. Print Edition | Subscribe