Couple who hit maid jailed after neighbour sees abuse

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — Angry that his domestic helper had not informed him of her request to return to Indonesia, a man slapped and choked the maid by the main door of his apartment unit.

Lim Kheng Soon was not aware that his neighbour had witnessed the assault and had informed the police.

Further investigations by the police revealed separate instances of abuse on the helper, Indonesian Junairiyah Junaedi Artawi, perpetuated by both Lim and his lover Jecyn Penpelnel Chong, who lived in the same unit with the couple’s two young children.

The couple, who are not married, were jailed and ordered to pay compensation after they admitted to their respective charges of voluntarily causing hurt on Wednesday (8 May).

Chong, a human resources executive, was jailed eight weeks after the 47-year-old pleaded guilty to one of two counts of voluntarily causing hurt to Junairiyah, 33. She was also ordered to pay $500 in compensation.

Lim, a 46-year-old taxi driver, was jailed three months and eight weeks after he pleaded guilty to two out of three counts of voluntarily causing hurt to Junairiyah. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation.

Abuse began in 2015

Chong had employed Junairiyah to care for her newborn in 2015 – the same year when the abuse began.

In early August 2015, Lim got angry at the maid over a wet floor caused by a faulty washing machine. Even after the maid tried to clean up the water, the floor was still damp.

Lim scolded the maid and assaulted her, kicking her thigh, slapping her cheek and grabbing her hair. He ignored Junairiyah’s apologies and continued hitting her. He later told Junairiyah that she would have to pay them $2,000 for the floor.

On another occasion in March 2016, Lim grabbed the maid’s chin and slapped her face.

Separately, Chong abused Junairiyah on 18 June 2017. That morning, the maid had left a milk bottle belonging to Chong’s daughter in the sink, as she was in a hurry to send the children to church for Sunday School.

Chong became angry and slapped Junairiyah’s cheeks several times. She pulled her hair and bit the maid on her left wrist.

Assault witnessed by neighbour

Both incidents were not witnessed by anyone else, and came to light only after Lim’s assault at his main door on 29 June 2017.

Lim had yelled at Junairiyah as she did not inform him about his request to return to Indonesia. He slapped Junairiyah’s cheek a few times, before pushing her against the wall and choking her with one hand.

The actions were seen by a neighbour who had gone to her apartment’s window to investigate the source of the shouting. She later called the police.

The maid had tenderness over her right upper back and shoulder, among other minor injuries. She returned to her maid agency on 30 June 2017.

The couple’s lawyer John Koh from Populus Law said that his clients had reacted out of pent-up anger and frustration as Junairiyah’s work had not been up to their standards. He pointed out that his clients had pleaded guilty and were remorseful.

They will start serving their sentences on 31 May.

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