Singapore—A domestic helper from Myanmar has received a four-month jail sentence for repeatedly pinching a 67-year-old woman who was in the hospital for end-stage renal failure.
The helper, 28-year-old Lain Ngain, retaliated against her elderly charge after the older woman would insult her or throw tantrums, pinching her on her face, chest, and arm when she thought nobody could see her.
But the elderly abuse was caught on camera, and now Ms Lain has pleaded guilty to a single charge of voluntarily causing hurt to the woman she took care of, Wee Keu Hoi.
Madam Wee was confined to National University Hospital due to end-stage renal disease from July 5, 2018 to January 23, 2019. She died on January 23 from an acute myocardial infarction.
During Madam Wee’s confinement in the hospital, Ms Lain had been tasked to attend to feed her, change her clothes, and attend to her other needs during visiting hours at National University Hospital. Ms Lain had been employed by the Wees since September 2017.
The Wee family became aware of the elder abuse on December 31, 2018, when Madam Wee told her son that Ms Lain had hit her several times. He then recounted this to the nurse on duty at the hospital.
Upon viewing the CCTV clips for that day, it was revealed that Ms Lain had pinched the older woman on her cheek, nose, arm, and breast six times from between 11:55 am and 1:05 pm.
The hospital staff then performed an examination on Madam Wee and found a bruise on her chest that had not been there before.
On January 2, Mr Wee filed a report with the police concerning the incident of abuse, adding that Ms Lain had also spat into Madam Wee’s face.
Ms Lain claimed that she hurt Madam Wee back when the older woman would throw tantrums and insult her when Ms Lain would attend to her needs and that she pinched Madam Wee in an attempt to get her to stop.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng said at Ms Lain’s hearing, “Instead of caring for the victim, the accused took advantage of the trust placed in her and hurt the very person she was tasked to care for, while the victim was helpless and defenceless against her assaults.”
Mr Ng asked for a minimum of 4 months jail term for Ms Lain, who had been proven to have committed multiple instanced of abuse to Madam Wee, and had also abused her position of trust.
“We urge the court to consider the importance of sending a strong signal in the public interest to deter caregivers from abusing the trust placed in them to look after our vulnerable and elderly.
This need is especially vital today where a significant and increasing proportion of our society depends on domestic helpers to care for our elderly family members.”
He added, ”She was a caregiver, entrusted with the care of the victim. However, whenever she became upset with the elderly victim, she vented out her anger by using physical violence on the victim.”
Ms Lain could have received a maximum jail term of 2 years and been fined as much as S$5,000 for the offense of voluntarily causing hurt./ TISG