SINGAPORE — A domestic helper convicted in Indonesia for the murder of a Singaporean couple had disliked being scolded by them and wanted to return to her home country as she was unhappy with her employers.
Khasanah, then 41, had not intended to cause the deaths of Chia Ngim Fong, 79, and Chin Sek Fah, 78, but had assaulted them in response to their struggles, according to the State Coroner’s findings into the death of the couple, delivered on Wednesday (2 September).
State Coroner (SC) Kamala Ponnampalam noted that the Indonesian maid had been prosecuted in Indonesia.
“The individual pieces of evidence from the link of the chain of circumstances support the inevitable conclusion that the death of (the couple) was a result of an unlawful killing perpetrated at the hands of their domestic helper Khasanah. It was a cruel and vicious attack on her defenceless and elderly employers,” said SC Kamala. According to an autopsy report, Chia died from blunt force trauma to the head, while Chin sustained blunt force trauma to both her head and chest.
Khasanah is currently serving a 20-year-jail term in Indonesia for the couple’s murder. She had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Indonesian courts but appealed and had her term reduced to 20 years by the Jakarta High Court on 15 August 2018.
Khasanah started working for the couple on 25 May 2017. Chia had difficulty walking and required support while his wife was generally healthy.
On 21 June 2017, Khasanah saw her passport as she was tidying the cupboard of the couple’s son who was living with them. She then decided to run away as she did not like being scolded by Chin.
Khasanah then tried to think of a way to flee without being stopped and decided to tie the couple up and cover their mouths with duct tape. She entered Chia’s room intending to gag him. She thought that the elderly man would be drowsy from his medicine and would not be able to resist.
She found the man sleeping sideways on his bed with his back towards her. She then approached Chia and pasted the duct tape over his mouth. As she began tying up his hands with raffia string, Chia woke and began to struggle, causing the duct tape to loosen. Chia began to scream.
In response, Khasanah turned on the television to drown out his screams and punched him in the face. When Chia continued to struggle, his skin tore off and he began to bleed profusely. On seeing the blood, Khasanah panicked. She picked up the wooden dressing table stool and used it to strike him repeatedly on the head.
Chin, who was in the room by that point, pushed the maid from behind. Khasanah then turned around and pushed the elderly woman, who fell into the ensuite bathroom and hit her head on the wall. As she was on the floor, Khasanah tied her limbs with raffia string and anchored it to the towel railing.
Chin continued to struggle and Khasanah stepped on her body while holding onto the sink until the woman was motionless. She then covered her victims’ mouths with towels and secured the towels with duct tape.
Khasanah then took her passport, cash and other items, and fled to Batam via ferry at the Singapore Cruise Centre at Harbourfront. The ferry left Singapore at 1.20pm.
At about 2.50pm, Khasanah called her employment agency using an unfamiliar number. She said she had made a mistake and asked for the residents of the flat to return home straightaway before hanging up. Sensing that something was wrong, the staff at the employment agency alerted the couple’s daughter, who tried to call her mother, and the house phone, to no avail. The daughter then told her husband to check on her parents.
Before the murder of his parents, the couple’s son had left for work at about 9am. He was only alerted to the incident through his sister, who informed him that their parents had been found unconscious in their Bedok flat, with Khasanah missing.
By the time the son returned home, police officers were processing the flat as a crime scene. Belongings, including cash amounting to $500, jewellery, handphone and watches and a laptop with a portable keyboard, were missing. He had not noticed anything unusual in Khasanah’s behaviour leading up to the incident.
Khasanah said that she intended to sell the money for items. She told investigators that she had no intention to cause the death of the couple and only assaulted them as they struggled. She also admitted to calling the employment agency after the incident.
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