Woman sentenced to 6 months' jail for hurting domestic helper who ran from flat to escape abuse

Ong Si Mien, 39, had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt.
Ong Si Mien, 39, had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A woman who abused her domestic worker multiple times was sentenced to six months' jail on Thursday (March 4).

Ong Si Mien, 39, had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt to the 33-year-old Indonesian.

District Judge Eddy Tham took into consideration three other similar charges when sentencing Ong on Thursday.

The Straits Times understands that she is a homemaker.

The victim - identified only as Yulia - had arrived in Singapore on July 16, 2016. Ong was her first employer.

About two weeks after she moved into Ong's flat in Sengkang, Ong became unhappy with the way she kept the kitchen and hit her on the head with a metal bowl.

The impact was hard enough to dent the bowl and cause pain to Ms Yulia.

After the domestic helper told Ong's husband that she wanted to return to the maid agency, Ong denied her request and scolded her for talking to him.

In another incident in August 2016, Ong scolded Ms Yulia for taking her shower later than usual. She then used a cordless phone to hit her head, causing her pain.

"However, the victim remained standing in front of the accused as one of the rules given by the accused was that she was to stay still when the accused was angry at the victim," Deputy Public Prosecutor Soh Weiqi had said in earlier proceedings.

Ms Yulia again requested for a transfer but Ong refused.

On Sept 24 that year, Ong slapped Ms Yulia after accusing the domestic worker of wrongly dressing up her four-year-old son. The domestic worker suffered a nose bleed as a result.

Ms Yulia took the opportunity to escape with her belongings when Ong later left the flat with her son.

The victim was in the Jalan Kayu area when she approached a stranger for help. The police were alerted and Ms Yulia was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where a doctor examined her and found her nasal bridge to be tender.

Ong's lawyer Amarjit Singh had earlier said in mitigation that his client is currently suffering from depression with anxiety features as well as borderline and obsessive compulsive personality traits.

He urged District Judge Tham to call for a report assessing her suitability for a mandatory treatment order (MTO). Offenders given MTO will undergo treatment for their mental condition in lieu of jail time.

But the judge rejected Mr Singh's suggestion on Thursday, noting that Ong's depressed state at that time did not justify her use of violence on the victim.

District Judge Tham said he would have taken a more sympathetic view of her case if she had stopped to reflect after abusing Ms Yulia the first time and taken remedial actions.

He added that Ong could still receive treatment for her mental condition while in prison.

The judge also granted her request to defer her jail term to April 1.

For each offence of voluntarily causing hurt to a domestic helper, Ong could have been jailed for three years, or fined up to $7,500, or both.