SINGAPORE: A woman who subjected her maid to abuse over three months was sentenced to 28 weeks' jail on Monday (Dec 3).
Khoo Mee Choo, 64, had claimed trial and was found guilty in September of four counts of voluntarily causing hurt and one count of using criminal force on Ema Rahmawati.
The court heard that the abuse occurred between January and April last year, soon after Ema began working for the accused in December 2016.
Khoo pulled her maid's hair in her Pasir Ris flat, as she felt that her work was "not up to standard", defence lawyers Anthony Lim and Lee Wei Fan said.
The real-estate agent also pinched her maid's arm after she splashed water on her while washing the dishes, punched her on the head and kicked her buttocks.
On one occasion, after the victim forgot to keep some chopsticks, Khoo used them to hit her on the arm.
On top of this, the victim was also scolded and berated frequently, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenny Yang. She was not allowed to speak to others, or to use her handphone.
Khoo would use a Hokkien vulgarity on her, which the victim understood to be an insult.
She was saved after she managed to pass notes to a maid next door, describing some of the assault and abuse.
The prosecutor pointed out that Ema received a total of only S$40 in wages, as she stopped work in April 2017 after she was taken away by the police.
Most of her S$520 monthly salary went into off-setting her agent placement fee.
While the prosecution asked for eight months' jail and a compensation order of S$4,580, the defence asked for three months' jail, pleading for compassion.
Khoo has been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, the defence said, and is undergoing chemotherapy.
"She is under tremendous stress and acted out of character," said the defence, adding that she lives with her 93-year-old mother.
The defence said that there was no significant psychological harm, and pointed to the victim's evidence during the trial that she ate and slept well in Khoo's household.
"The accused's action was not premeditated but was on impulse," said Khoo's lawyers. "The accused had no such issues with the previous maids that she had hired and only acted out ... because of the frustration that she felt upon being diagnosed with cancer and or the pain from surgery or chemotherapy."
Khoo has paid her maid the compensation due to her.