Four accuse creator of Facebook page that helps maids of seducing them
A man who started a support group for troubled maids on Facebook is now accused of using it to have sex with them.
At least four maids claimed they had sex with him and posted about it on the group's Facebook wall.
One of them, Filipina Angel Yash Reynoso, 29, even claimed he made her pregnant and then insisted she go for an abortion.
Instead, she decided to return to the Philippines, where she gave birth to the baby boy in February.
The Facebook group, known as "SHEG. MAID Jobs Singapore, No Fee/Deduction - For Employers & Maids", was started in December 2012 by someone who calls himself Mahal Jat on the social media site.
SHEG stands for Secular Humanitarian Egalitarian Group.
The group purportedly serves to "espouse the cause of furthering the rights" of foreign domestic workers here.
It has more than 86,000 members and the creator often posts about maids' issues at work and also useful information such as Manpower Ministry and migrant worker groups helplines.
Maids would share work-related problems and other members would comment.
Sometimes, they post links to articles on issues concerning maids.
However, in May this year, Miss Angel posted on the group's wall, saying that the man is the father of her child. A few others, who claimed to have had sex with him, soon followed.
These posts were removed from the Facebook page almost immediately and those who posted were blocked from the group, said Miss Angel.
Maids who claimed to fall for Mr "Mahal's" sweet-talking told TNP that he told them he was married to a Singaporean, but is divorced with a nine-year-old son.
According to the maids, he is a 42-year-old permanent resident here who holds Australian citizenship and lives in a condominium at Paya Lebar.
His LinkedIn account indicates that he has a doctorate in business administration.
When TNP contacted Mr "Mahal", he called these allegations mere rumours started by "trouble-makers", but declined to say more.
He initially agreed to meet TNP for an interview, but changed his mind and has been uncontactable since.
TNP also spoke to Mr "Mahal's" friend, Mr Johare Mohamed, who showed us a Facebook conversation he claims he had with Mr "Mahal" regarding the maids' allegations.
Mr "Mahal" allegedly wrote: "If women throw themselves at me and ask for date, and I tell them I cannot marry, cannot give long term relationship, and they willingly want to date despite zero promises and me making everything clear up front, then it's casual date only.
"I do not chase women. If they throw themselves at me, even if I make clear I have nothing to give, then no one has right to make gossip or use wrong words, brother."
The reply shocked and upset Mr Johare, 37, a security officer, who has lodged a police report against Mr "Mahal".
The security officer had joined the group half a year ago as he agreed with the cause Mr "Mahal" championed - maids' rights.
Said Mr Johare: "He's a leader of the group, yet he did these things behind everyone's back."
Mr Johare met with Mr Jolovan Wham, the executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).
He and his wife, who wanted to be known only as Jenny, showed Mr Wham screengrabs of his conversation with Mr "Mahal", as well as the police report that Mr Johare had lodged against him.
They found out from Mr Wham that he had already been approached by Mr "Mahal" about the allegations.
Said Madam Jenny: "He (Mr Wham) told me to just make noise on the Facebook page and tell the other foreign domestic workers to be more aware."
If women throw themselves at me and ask for date, and I tell them I cannot marry, cannot give long term relationship, and they willingly want to date despite zero promises and me making everything clear up front, then it's casual date only.
- Mr "Mahal Jat", after a friend, Mr Johare Mohamed, confronted him about his motives.
He comforted me, then we had sex in tent
- SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO
When she had sex with him for the first time in a tent at Pasir Ris Park, she did it because she was in love.
But two months on, she realised that she was just one of several women in Mr "Mahal Jat's" life.
The Indonesian maid, who wanted to be known only as Carrie, first became Facebook friends with him last October, shortly after joining the Facebook group.
"At that time, I was depressed because my then-boyfriend was cheating on me. I felt very comfortable with "Mahal" as he would always comfort me when I was down," the 29-year-old told The New Paper.
After a month, they met up for the first time.
She was smitten, but steered clear of him after that because "he had many girlfriends".
Miss Carrie said she held Mr "Mahal" in high regard because she thought he was related to migrant worker group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), convinced by the Home-related information he posted, and a photo he put online of him and a Home staff member.
The pair met again in May, after she broke up with her then-boyfriend.
"We decided to meet at Pasir Ris Park because we both like the beach. He brought a tent along. He told me he had checked the weather forecast, which said it would rain.
"At that time, I thought it was for protection (from the rain). I didn't think much about it," Miss Carrie said.
They had sex in the tent that day.
"I thought he really loved me, after we did it," said Miss Carrie.
But she started receiving Facebook messages from different members saying that Mr "Mahal" has been telling them they are sexy.
"When I found out, I got jealous and confronted him," she said.
But, she claimed, he called her vulgar names and accused her of using him.
"He told me he won't let me destroy his name or use his name for popularity.
"After that day, I got really fed up. I told myself that I will never contact this man again," she said.
He told me to abort my baby
Miss Angel Yash Reynoso received a Facebook friend request from "Mahal Jat" in February last year.
After chatting online for two months, he asked to meet the 29-year-old.
He initiated their meetings, Miss Angel said. In May, the pair met six times, mostly near his home. They had sex that month.
In June last year, the Filipina, who had been working here for 12 years, discovered she was pregnant. But when she told him about it, the first thing he allegedly said was: "Abort it."
Miss Angel returned to the Philippines and gave birth to the baby there.
"I told my employer that I wanted to go home to rest for a while and take care of my sick father," she said. "When I tested positive, I was so shocked. I told him about it, but he asked me to take Cytotec."
Cytotec induces a miscarriage.
"I felt so hurt. I did not want to abort the baby. I'd rather die than to do that," she told TNP.
What hurt her even more was the way he denied being the father of her baby, she added.
She had held him in high regard because of his advocacy of foreign domestic worker rights in the Facebook group.
She showed TNP screengrabs of a text message exchange that she claimed took place between Mr "Mahal" and her friend who confronted him.
He had said: "I told you already I don't have anything to do with her and her unwanted child. Don't invent similarities with me."
In hindsight, she felt she should have been more cautious. She said: "I will not trust any guy easily anymore. It's just sweet talk."
'Mahal' not linked to charity: hom
When TNP contacted Mr Jolovan Wham of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), he declined to comment on Mr "Mahal's" alleged actions as he did not know him, but confirmed that he is not connected to Home.
Mr Wham also confirmed that Mr "Mahal" had messaged him on Facebook, saying that there are people spreading rumours about him.
After learning that some maids had given their Facebook passwords and work permit numbers to Mr "Mahal", Mr Wham advised them to be more careful when it comes to giving out their personal information.
Mr "Mahal" had allegedly asked for their passwords so that he could add other maids to the Facebook group.
Dr Noorashikin Abdul Rahman, who is on the executive committee of Transient Workers Count Too, said that while the Internet is a good source of knowledge, it could be harmful for those who are less discerning.