Singapore

Woman gets six months' jail for hitting, slapping maid who then escaped flat

A woman who abused her domestic worker multiple times was sentenced to six months' jail yesterday.

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

About two weeks after she moved in with the family, 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.

Ong abused Ms Yulia again in August 2016 by hitting her head with a cordless phone and a month later by slapping the maid.

After Ong left the flat with her son, Ms Yulia took the opportunity to escape.

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

He urged Judge Tham to call for a report assessing her suitability for a mandatory treatment order, which allows offenders to undergo treatment for their mental condition in lieu of jail time.

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

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

Judge Tham 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.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

COURT & CRIME