Couple who abused maid for months found guilty

Linda Seah Lei Sie (left) was convicted of five assault charges and one count of causing the maid to drink tainted water, while Seah's husband Lim Toon Leng was found guilty of one count of assault. The couple carried out the offences at their Punggo
Linda Seah Lei Sie (above) was convicted of five assault charges and one count of causing the maid to drink tainted water, while Seah's husband Lim Toon Leng was found guilty of one count of assault. The couple carried out the offences at their Punggol flat between August and October 2016.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Linda Seah Lei Sie (left) was convicted of five assault charges and one count of causing the maid to drink tainted water, while Seah's husband Lim Toon Leng was found guilty of one count of assault. The couple carried out the offences at their Punggo
Linda Seah Lei Sie was convicted of five assault charges and one count of causing the maid to drink tainted water, while Seah's husband Lim Toon Leng (above) was found guilty of one count of assault. The couple carried out the offences at their Punggol flat between August and October 2016.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Myanmar national was made to scald herself, drink tainted water, and had salary withheld

Tormented for months, a maid was forced to perform multiple acts of self-harm, including pouring scalding hot water on herself and drinking dirty water mixed with detergent.

Ms Phyu Phyu Mar also did not receive her monthly salary of $700 throughout her employment with her abusers, and her weight plummeted from 50kg to 38kg because of a lack of food.

Yesterday, District Judge Olivia Low found Linda Seah Lei Sie, 39, and her husband, Lim Toon Leng, 44, guilty of abusing the Myanmar national following a 15-day trial.

Seah, who manages Anew Me Beauty Aesthetic salon at The Centrepoint shopping mall in Orchard Road, was convicted of five assault charges and one count of causing the maid to drink tainted water.

The judge found her interior designer husband guilty of one count of assault.

The Singaporean couple, who have a five-year-old daughter, committed the offences at their Punggol Walk flat between August and October 2016.

  • $700

  • Ms Phyu Phyu Mar's monthly salary, which she did not receive throughout her employment with her abusers. Her weight plummeted from 50kg to 38kg because of a lack of food.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Sarah Shi and Jotham Tay said in their submissions that Seah employed Ms Phyu Phyu Mar from February to October that year.

The prosecutors added that the maid received her full salary only in November that year when the Ministry of Manpower intervened.

Ms Phyu Phyu Mar testified during the trial that Seah made her pour hot water on herself on two occasions - in August and September 2016.

 

Yesterday, Judge Low said that according to the prosecution, Seah was unhappy with the maid and boiled some water in a kettle before asking her to pour some of it on her own left shoulder. The maid complied.

The second incident took place after Seah became angry because she felt that the maid was slow in completing her chores.

The maid suffered scald marks and blisters on her skin when she complied with Seah's orders.

Instead of taking her to a doctor, Seah gave her a needle and told her to puncture the blisters herself.

Besides these incidents, Seah ordered the maid to drink tainted water, made her hit her head against the floor, grabbed her hair and used a cellphone to repeatedly hit her.

On Oct 13, 2016, Lim punched Ms Phyu Phyu Mar's forehead twice after he wrongly assumed that she had thrown away his spectacles.

The court heard that the maid used to accompany Seah to her salon a few times a week and one of its workers, who had noticed her injuries, alerted the police the next day.

The police went to the couple's flat on Oct 15, 2016, and Ms Phyu Phyu Mar was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where she was warded for six days.

The couple are expected to be sentenced on Feb 11.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Couple who abused maid for months found guilty'. Print Edition | Subscribe