During the second day of trial, one of the maids who is accusing her employer’s wife of abuse in her Sentosa Cove home took the stand on Wednesday (Dec 9). She told the court she was asked to work through the night and added that she was pinched when her employer’s wife found her massages unsatisfactory.
Jenefer Vegafria Arangote, 39, said that she would work through the night and only sleep at 1 pm or 2 pm and wake up at 5 pm or 6 pm daily. She worked for the accused, Tan Lee Hoon, for three months at her multi-million dollar Paradise Island home.
Tan’s husband, Sim Guan Huat, also employed 33-year-old Lizardo Joan Lozares as a maid in October 2015, before hiring Ms Arangote as a domestic helper in August 2018.
In court, Ms Arangote said that her chores included cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, as well as massaging Tan daily until the woman fell asleep.
She also said that she had no days off in the three months that she worked for the household.
Ms Arangote alleged that sometime in October 2018 when she was massaging Tan in her bedroom at around 10 am or 11 am before Tan went to bed, the latter pinched her.
“When I started massaging her, she was not happy (with) the way I did it to her. Then she got angry with me, that’s why she pinched me,” said Ms Arangote, according to a CNA report.
She added that both her and Ms Lozares would take turns massaging Tan until she fell asleep.
The first time, Tan allegedly pinched Ms Arangote twice on her shoulders. The pinches left “blue marks” on Ms Arangote’s shoulders. During another massage, Tan allegedly pinched the upper right part of Ms Arangote’s chest twice. After a few days, Ms Arangote noticed a bruise in the area.
During a third incident, Ms Arangote was arranging paper lanterns on a tree when she accidentally knocked over a statue, angering Tan. Tan then pinched her on the back of her thigh, said Ms Arangote.
There was a fourth incident when Tan allegedly pinched the maid on her inner forearm with her fingernails.
According to charge sheets, Tan is accused of pinching Ms Arangote’s right bicep, stomach, chest, arm and thigh in September 2018. She is accused of hitting Ms Lozares’ head with her hand and kicking her chest in October 2018, as well as hitting her torso with a stick on another occasion that year.
Ms Arangote took photos of all the bruises and kept them on her phone. However, once after confiscating Ms Arangote’s phone, Tan asked for the phone’s password and checked her photo gallery.
Ms Arangote eventually got her phone back from her agent, but the photos had been deleted.
Tan is contesting eight charges of voluntarily causing hurt to Ms Arangote and Ms Lozares.
If convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, Tan could be jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both, for each charge. As the offences are against maids, she could be given up to one-and-a-half times the original punishment if found guilty. /TISG