Pregnant maid jailed for assault and theft

A newly arrived maid, who found out she was pregnant a month after starting work here, assaulted her employer when she was told to wait until a replacement could be found before she could go home.

Poniyem, who is six months pregnant and goes by only one name, caused her employer to slip on a floor she had made oily.

The 41-year-old Indonesian then sprayed insecticide on the victim's face, grabbed the latter's eight-year-old daughter by the hair and pointed a pair of scissors at the girl's throat.

She released the child, but threatened her 44-year-old employer with a knife, demanding money and the return of her passport.

She then took $200 in cash and two mobile phones worth more than $1,800 in total before fleeing to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, where the police arrested her.

Yesterday, Poniyem was sentenced to four months' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of assault and theft.

A criminal intimidation charge was considered during sentencing.

The employer cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter.

Poniyem had got married earlier this year before she started working for the victim in April.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao said: "Some time in May... the accused informed the victim that she was pregnant and wanted to stop working.

"The victim asked the accused to wait until a replacement maid could be found, as the maid agency had informed the victim that it was unable to get any replacement until after Hari Raya Puasa on June 5."

At around 1am on May 21, Poniyem poured some oil outside her employer's room and knocked on the woman's door, claiming she had a stomachache.

When her employer stepped out, the maid pulled her hand, causing her to slip and fall.

 

DPP Foo told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim: "After the victim fell to the ground, the accused (went) to take a nearby can of insecticide and sprayed the insecticide on the victim's face. The victim closed her eyes to prevent the insecticide from entering her eyes."

The employer asked her daughter to call the police. Poniyem then threatened the pair before fleeing with the cash and mobile phones.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'Pregnant maid jailed for assault and theft'. Print Edition | Subscribe