Woman jailed for pinching and punching maid, threatening her with knife

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
Lee Siew Choon was found guilty of two charges of causing hurt and one count of using threatening behaviour to cause alarm. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

A clerk repeatedly pinched a maid on the face and arms with so much force over a four-month period that it left fingernail marks on her, a court heard.

Once, Lee Siew Choon, 50, also tapped the side of the 23-year-old Indonesian maid’s face with the side of a knife blade.

At the State Courts on Monday (25 February), Lee was jailed for three months and two weeks, having pleaded guilty to two charges of causing hurt and one count of using threatening behaviour to cause alarm.

Another five charges of causing hurt were considered in her sentencing.

Yani, who goes by one name, started working for Lee in May 2016. She would start work at 5.25am and end only at midnight.

Lee neither gave Yani any off-days nor allowed her to have a mobile phone.

Shortly after Yani started work, Lee would pinch various parts of her body, including her arms and back, whenever she made mistakes. She would tell Yani not to tell anyone about the abuse.

On one occasion, Lee was unhappy over the way the maid was cutting onions. Lee picked up the knife and tapped her on her face with the side of the knife blade.

On another occasion, Lee pinched Yani’s face and arms repeatedly over the way the maid had cleaned the house.

On 1 August 2016, Lee was unhappy with Yani for hanging out clothes to dry without opening the window in the room. Lee punched the maid’s left eye, causing her vision to blur. The employer then grabbed a wooden pole and used it to hit Yani’s arm. Lee also pinched the maid’s left hand.

After Lee left her home to go to work on the same day, Yani ran away from the flat. A passer-by gave her some coins and she called the police from a public phone at a nearby market.

A medical examination found multiple small old scars all over her entire abdominal area, lower back and both arms. She still had visible marks on her body as of August last year.

Lee has given the maid $6,828 in compensation. She will start serving sentence on 4 March.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt is up to two years’ jail and a fine of up to $5,000 per charge. If the crime is committed by the employer of a domestic maid or a member of the employer’s household, the perpetrator is liable to one and a half times the punishment.

The maximum punishment for causing alarm is a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months’ jail.

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