SINGAPORE: Unhappy that her household's three domestic workers had not performed chores to her satisfaction, a grandmother made them slap each other and pour water over each other's heads.
For three counts of voluntarily causing hurt to the maids, with another two charges taken into consideration, 63-year-old Kan Choi Yit was jailed for five weeks on Tuesday (Jul 28).
She was also fined S$1,500.
Two of the victims, 26-year-old Filipina Annabel Timbol Reyes and 25-year-old Indonesian Ratna Lestari, were employed by Kan and worked at her home.
The third victim, 32-year-old Filipina Planta Renalyn Manaday, was employed by Kan's daughter-in-law, but worked most days at Kan's home.
The maids were employed between October 2017 and October 2018, earning between S$577 and S$645 per month for performing duties such as cooking, doing the laundry and cleaning the home.
On Aug 20, 2018, while Ms Reyes was preparing food for Kan's grandchildren, she poured rice grains directly into the cooking pot without measuring it with a cup.
Kan discovered that the amount of rice in the cooker was more than what her grandchildren needed.
She questioned Ms Reyes and Ms Ratna, and the latter admitted that she did not teach Ms Reyes to use the measuring cup for cooking rice.
Angered by this and feeling that the excess rice would be wasted, Kan ordered Ms Reyes to slap Ms Ratna's face 10 times. Afraid to disobey Kan, Ms Reyes carried out the acts.
That same month, Kan ordered Ms Manday, the other Filipina domestic worker, to slap Ms Ratna's face twice for being late to wash the family car.
A month later, Kan wanted to drink some hot water when she realised there was none as the flasks had not been refilled.
Upset with the three maids, she asked them what appropriate punishment they should get. When they did not answer, she decided on the punishment and instructed the trio to pour room-temperature water on each other from head-to-toe.
The maids filled a cooking pot with tap water and poured the liquid over each other's heads until they were all drenched.
The trio went to the Ministry of Manpower the next month to seek help and an officer there called the police.
The prosecutor said that the three incidents "exhibited humiliating treatment to the victims" in response to "objectively minor mistakes".
The judge meted out the sentence after considering Kan's plea of guilt, her remorse, lack of previous convictions, voluntary compensation, advanced age and medical condition.
For voluntarily causing hurt, she could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both. As the offences were against maids, the sentence could have been up to one-and-a-half times the original.