Burmese domestic helper jailed for abusing terminally ill woman under her care

Wan Ting Koh
Photo illustration. PHOTO: Getty Creative

SINGAPORE — Upset with her bedridden, critically ill elderly charge for throwing tantrums and insulting her, a maid abused her in retaliation.

Unbeknownst to her, a hospital CCTV caught Myanmar national Lain Ngain pinching 67-year-old Wee Keu Hoi multiple times.

The 28-year-old was jailed for four months on Wednesday (11 September). She pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Wee, who died from an acute myocardial infarction on 23 January this year.

Lain Ngain started working for the Wee family in September 2017. She was tasked to care for Wee's daily needs, including feeding and changing of clothes.

From 5 July last year to 23 January this year, Wee was warded at the National University Hospital for end-stage renal disease. As the elderly lady was bedridden and in ill-health, Lain Ngain was tasked with seeing to her needs during the hospital's visiting hours.

When Wee's 41-year-old son visited her at the hospital on 31 December last year, Wee said that Lain Ngain had hit her on several occasions. Wee's son alerted the duty nurse, who reviewed the CCTV footage for the day.

According to CCTV footage, between 11.55 am and 1.05pm, the maid pinched Wee's left cheek, breast, nose, and left arm six times.

Wee was examined at the hospital and noted to have a bruise on her breast that was not noticed by the nurse before the abuse.

Wee's son lodged a police report on 2 January this year, stating that the maid had also spat on her mother's face.

During investigations, Lain Ngain confessed that she was upset with Wee for throwing tantrums and insulting her while being cared for.

The helper then pinched the elderly lady to stop her from her tantrums and insults.

"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," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng.

The DPP sought at least four months' jail for the maid, whom he said had attacked a vulnerable victim who was terminally ill.

The maid had also committed multiple assaults over a period about four hours and had abused her position of trust.

"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," said the DPP.

Furthermore the abuse was of an egregious nature, added the prosecutor.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Lain Ngain could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.

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