Singapore

Woman pleads guilty to hurting maid who fled from flat to escape abuse

A woman who abused her maid just two weeks after the Indonesian started working for the family pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt.

Three similar charges will be taken into consideration during Ong Si Mien's sentencing on March 4.

The court heard the domestic helper - identified in court documents as Yulia - arrived in Singapore on July 16, 2016. Ong, 39, was her first employer.

About two weeks after Ms Yulia, 33, moved in, Ong hit her on the head with a metal bowl because she was upset with the way Ms Yulia kept the kitchen. The impact dented the bowl and hurt the victim.

Ms Yulia then told Ong's husband she wanted to return to the maid agency, but Ong told her she would not allow it and scolded her for talking to her husband.

In another incident in August 2016, Ong hit Ms Yulia on the head with a cordless phone after scolding her for taking her shower later than usual.

Ong again refused Ms Yulia's transfer request and threatened to transfer her to India instead.

On Sept 24, 2016, Ong slapped Ms Yulia, causing her nose to bleed, after accusing her of wrongly dressing up her four-year-old son.

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

The police were alerted and she was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where a doctor found her nasal bridge to be tender.

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

She also likely had post-natal depression after the birth of her younger son when she committed the offences, he added.

He said Ong is undergoing treatment at the Institute of Mental Health and urged District Judge Eddy Tham to call for a report assessing her suitability for a mandatory treatment order in lieu of jail time.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Soh Weiqi said Ong should be jailed for at least eight months, saying her post-natal depression only partially reduced her ability to exercise self-control.

Ong should also be ordered to pay $5,200 as compensation to Ms Yulia, he added. 

This article was first published in The Straits Times

COURT & CRIME