Elderly woman jailed for hitting maid
Myanmar maid suffered swollen lips and shaky upper front tooth
Three days into her job, her employer's mother wanted her sent back to the maid agency.
The next day, the maid knelt in front of the elderly woman to apologise for any mistakes she had made.
Instead of graciously accepting her apology, Chinese national Li Guizhen kneed Myanmar maid Nwe Ni Hlaing, 30, in the chin.
For that unprovoked attack, Li, 64, was jailed a week yesterday.
She was on a long-term visit pass which allowed her to make multiple trips to Singapore to visit her daughter's family at Block 274C, Jurong West Street 25, when she committed the offence.
On June 30, 2014, Ms Hlaing overheard Li telling her daughter to send the maid back to the agency.
Li's daughter, who was Ms Hlaing's employer, told Ms Hlaing she would be sent back the next day.
On July 1, before leaving for the agency, Ms Hlaing knelt before Li to apologise for any mistakes she had made while working with the household.
Li swung her knee and hit the maid's chin, causing her mouth to snap shut.
The maid later reported the assault to the maid agency and was taken to the National University Hospital Dental Centre two days later with swollen lips and a shaky upper front tooth.
In court, Li was seen sobbing before being sentenced.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said the assault was unprovoked and Ms Hlaing had little chance to react or defend herself.
But Li's lawyer, Mr Leon Koh, told the court that the incident was a result of miscommunication and cultural barriers, and that Li had acted impulsively.In response, DPP Koh said: "Regardless of miscommunication issues, the fact the victim was kneeling in front of the accused at the time of the offence (meant she was), therefore, in a physically vulnerable position."
The court heard Li compensated Ms Hlaing $6,000 to cover her loss of income and surgery required for injuries.
Li pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt.
Two other charges - committing a rash act by hitting Ms Hlaing on the mouth and using criminal force by poking her on the cheek - were taken into consideration.
For voluntarily causing hurt to a maid, Li could have been jailed up to three years and fined up to $7,500.