For nearly a year, a maid from Myanmar was subjected to relentless physical abuse by a Singaporean couple whom she worked for.
Moe Moe Than, 31, was forced to suffer abuse ranging from eating her own vomit after being force-fed with rice mixed with sugar to multiple assaults.
The couple – Tay Wee Kiat, 41, and Chia Yun Ling, 43 – had previously been sentenced to jail for abusing another maid from Indonesia. Tay and Chia have three young children.
Tay was found guilty of six charges of abuse against the Myanmar maid while Chia was convicted of 15 charges in the State Courts on Monday (4 March). Their trial began in September 2017 and lasted until 9 January this year.
Tay was acquitted of two charges of voluntarily causing hurt to Moe Moe Than while Chia was acquitted of one charge over unpaid salary to the maid and one charge of insulting the maid’s modesty by instructing her to strip and taking photos of her.
The couple earlier made the news when they were convicted of abusing Fitriyah, an Indonesian maid, after a trial. Following an appeal by the couple, the High Court upheld their conviction and increased Tay’s sentence on 2 March last year. Tay was jailed for 43 months while Chia was jailed for two months for their offences against Fitriyah, who worked for the couple for two years until December 2012.
Moe Moe Than, who worked for the couple between 8 January 2012 and 12 November 2012, testified that she had to wake at 5.30am daily and could only sleep after midnight. Her employer slapped her for oversleeping on a number of occasions.
For her daily meals, the maid initially ate rice and cabbage but she was later given only plain rice and water.
According to the maid, she was required to massage Chia’s foot every night till midnight. On one occasion, the maid had dozed off while massaging, prompting Chia to cane her on the head.
On another occasion, Chia found out that some plastic boxes were dusty. She got a cane and told Moe Moe Than to remove her shorts and panties before caning her on her buttocks.
Once, Chia caught Moe Moe Than looking at herself in the mirror. Chia dragged the maid by her hair, pushed her to the floor and stepped on her chest. The assault caused the maid to have difficulty breathing.
In another incident, when Moe Moe Than complained she did not have enough to eat, Chia forced a funnel into Moe Moe Than’s mouth and pushed a mixture of rice and sugar into it.
The maid vomited in the toilet but Chia still scolded and slapped her. Chia ordered the maid to vomit into a plastic bag and consume her own vomit, and the maid complied.
Tay would also cane the maid on several occasions. When his daughter refused to study, Tay caned Moe Moe Than on her head.
Once, Tay was angered over his daughter’s performance in a school paper and forced Moe Moe Than and Fitriyah to assume a push up position before kicking them.
The incidents came to light when Moe Moe Than sought help from her Myanmar agent, after she returned to Yangon on 12 November 2012. The agent’s partner in Singapore was alerted and the matter was referred to the authorities.
The couple is expected to be sentenced on 18 March.