An abusive male employer who pushed his foreign domestic helper to her breaking point was sentenced to 10 months and 12 weeks in prison on Thursday (7 Jan).
According to the Chinese daily, the man and his wife employed a 30-year-old Myanmar national between 2014 and 2017 to work in their home at 676B Jurong West St 64. Towards the end of 2015, the man became dissatisfied with the helper’s work performance and began to abuse her.
In 2016, a dispute over what temperature water should be used for his son’s milk powder led to the man pouring scalding hot water on the victim’s left wrist and arm. The victim suffered burns to her wrist and was unable to sleep or take a proper shower for two weeks due to her injuries.
The defendant had also taken and locked the helper’s mobile phone to prevent her from reporting him. The victim sought the help of another helper in the same HDB block and used her phone to call home and inform her mother of the abuse.
Things came to a head on 12 July 2017. The defendant’s wife called him and complained that the helper had stolen milk powder. The man came home in a rage and allegedly beat the helper on her face and arm with a rolled newspaper, while screaming so loudly that his voice was heard by neighbours living two stories above. The court heard that the man also threw a water bottle at the victim.
After the man’s wife scolded the victim once again the next morning, the victim tried to take her life by jumping from the 9th storey of the HDB block. The man’s wife and some friends managed to coax her down and took her to the police station, where the abuse came to light.
The prosecution argued that the man used fear to exploit the worker and that both he and his wife saw the helper like a “child” that they could punish. Although the defendant pled not guilty to six charges of deliberately hurting others, and reckless or negligent acts that endangered, the judge convicted him and sentenced him to jail.