Jail for woman who forced maid to hit her own mouth 50 times with meat pounder

SINGAPORE- A housewife, unhappy at seeing fingerprints on her kitchen windows, forced her domestic helper to hit her own mouth with a meat pounder about 50 times.

Mun Sau Yeng, 41, was sentenced on Tuesday (March 16) to 15 months' jail.

The court heard that Mun ordered her Indonesian helper Yuni Dwi Lestari, now 26, to inflict pain on herself on Feb 4, 2019. Ms Yuni later felt that three teeth in her lower jaw had come loose.

Still unhappy as she wanted the maid to lose her teeth, Mun took the mallet-like pounder and struck Ms Yuni's teeth once, chipping one of them.

The Singaporean had pleaded guilty in a district court to three counts of maid abuse. Four other similar charges were considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng said that the maid started working in Mun's Anchorvale Drive flat in Sengkang in April 2018.

In November that year, Mun flew into a rage after she found out that Ms Yuni had eaten a can of sardines for lunch. The court heard that she had earlier planned for the maid to eat the sardines for dinner.

Mun then struck Ms Yuni on both cheeks several times before asking the maid to punch her own face 50 times. Ms Yuni did as she was told and was made to count the blows.

As a result, she suffered bruises and swelling to both cheeks.

The DPP said: "The accused was of the view that the victim would remember the pain better if the victim punched herself.

"The accused did not take the victim to see a doctor as she was aware that what she did was wrong. In addition, she instructed the victim to tilt her head down for the rest of the day as she wanted to prevent her husband from seeing the victim's injuries."

On Feb 7, 2019, three days after the incident with the meat pounder, Mun told Ms Yuni over the phone that she would "know what will happen" if dust was spotted in the flat.

Mun returned home later that day and found dust in some parts of the unit. She punched Ms Yuni's mouth about 10 times and the maid then bled from her lips.

She did not take the maid to the doctor after these two incidents.

About a week later on Feb 15, Ms Yuni called the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), which was set up in 2016 by the National Trades Union Congress to help distressed workers.

A CDE representative alerted the police at around 1.40pm that day.

The court heard on Tuesday that Mun has a history of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The DPP, however, urged the court to sentence her to at least 15 months' jail, stressing that an assessment found that these conditions had no causal link to her acts of abuse.