SINGAPORE — A youth who threw a metal mug at a maid and told her she was “poor” was sentenced to the minimum six months of reformative training on Tuesday (1 September).
The argument arose after Ng Jia Sheng, 20, ordered Filipino Estabillo Soledad Augustin, 41, to switch on the air-conditioner in his house.
Ng had earlier pleaded guilty to using criminal force on the maid, committing a rash act which endangered her safety and hurt her, as well as using insulting words and causing alarm to her. Another two charges of voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation were considered for his sentencing.
His sentence will begin on 20 November after he completes his examinations. Reformative training is a rehabilitative sentencing option usually given to those between 14 and 21 years of age which results in a criminal record.
Estabillo was hired as a domestic helper by Ng’s family.
On 7 June 2018, Ng and Estabillo argued over an air-conditioner in the house. Ng had asked Estabillo to switch on the air-conditioner but the maid replied that it was already on.
Insisting that the air-conditioner was not operating, Ng demanded that the maid switch it on and adjust it to a very cold temperature. Irritated by Ng’s order, Estabillo said she would do so and threw the air-conditioner controller onto a table.
Angered by the maid’s response, Ng argued with her and spat at her face. Estabillo spat back at Ng’s face in retaliation. Ng then told the maid that she was “only a maid, was poor and had no right to be in Singapore”, according to court documents.
Ng’s father intervened and separated the two. The row continued in the kitchen with Ng picking up a metal mug containing some water and throwing it at Estabillo. The mug hit Estabillo’s face below her left eye, causing her to cry.
She picked up several items including medicine bottles and a plastic jug and threw them at Ng but they did not hit him. Estabillo was then restrained by Ng’s brother.
After calming down, Estabillo stepped out of the house. She sought help from a fellow domestic helper working in another household to call the police.
Estabillo was later found to have abrasion and swelling on her face as well as a nasal bone fracture.
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