Woman convicted of abusing Myanmar maid, who was left with bruises and hearing loss

Correction note: An earlier version of this story had the wrong picture of the offender. The person whose photo was erroneously used has nothing to do with the case of maid abuse, and was in fact in court to support the victim. The photo has been removed. We are sorry for the error and apologise for the distress caused.

SINGAPORE - A 51-year-old woman was on Friday (Feb 26) convicted of two counts of abusing her maid, in attacks which left the Myanmar national with bruises and the loss of hearing in her left ear.

Ms Thang Khaw Lam, 30, later recovered from her injuries and was found to have normal hearing.

Both incidents occurred in 2017 at Gayathri Iyer's home at the Pebble Bay condominium in Tanjong Rhu Road.

District Judge Tan Jen Tse, who found the Singaporean guilty after a trial, acquitted her of two other counts of maid abuse, finding the maid's evidence in these instances not "unusually convincing".

Ms Thang Khaw Lam started working for Gayathri's family in June 2017. Deputy Public Prosecutors Tan Ee Kuan and Amanda Sum in their submissions said that on Oct 27 that year, the housewife hit the maid's shoulder after the domestic worker used the word "mah" when talking to her.

Ms Thang Khaw Lam documented her injuries with a mobile phone. Four photographs, which were produced in court, showed bruises over the top of her shoulder, "extending slightly to the back".

In another incident on Dec 7, 2017, they described how Gayathri had slapped Ms Thang Khaw Lam for failing to wake up her son. He was then in national service.

The incident happened at around 5.40am, as the domestic worker was doing the laundry.

Gayathri slapped the maid twice on her left ear and once on her right. As a result, the maid said she could not hear anything in her left ear for the whole day.

About five days after the incident, she ran from Gayathri's home and told the police about her ordeal. She recovered from her injuries by Sept 5, 2018.

Gayathri, who is represented by lawyer Amarjit Singh Sidhu, had her bail set at $15,000. She will be sentenced on March 17.

For each count of assaulting a maid, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $7,500.

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