A married couple were sentenced to jail after a 14-day trial, which revealed the numerous ways they had assaulted their Indonesian maid for almost two years.
Addressing the man, Tay Wee Kiat, 39, just before delivering the sentence, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said: “It is clear that you are the main perpetrator.”
He then sentenced the former regional IT manager to two years and four months in jail after convicting him of all 12 charges.
Nine of the charges were for causing hurt to Ms Fitriyah, 34, who had worked for them in Yishun Avenue 6 from Dec 7, 2010 to Dec 12, 2012.
The other three were for abetting his Myanmar maid Moe Moe Than, 28, to slap the Indonesian helper on the face; offering to pay Ms Fitriyah her salary and send her home in exchange for not reporting his offence of abuse; and instructing Ms Fitriyah to lie to the police that he did not abuse the other maid.
Tay’s wife, former senior sales manager Chia Yun Ling, 41, now a part-time events administrator, was sentenced to two months’ jail for slapping Ms Fitriyah sometime between June and December 2012, and punching her on the forehead on Dec 7 that year.
During the trial, the court heard that Tay hit the Indonesian’s head with canes and bamboo sticks.
In one incident in February 2011, as punishment, he stuffed an incense bottle into her mouth and forced her to stand for half an hour on one leg on a stool, holding another stool overhead.
Ms Than testified that Tay forced her and Ms Fitriyah to get down on all fours and then kicked their backsides.
He also made them slap each other 10 times and hit them with three tied-up canes.
Seeking a sentence of at least 33 months’ jail for Tay and a minimum three months for Chia, Deputy Public Prosecutors Kumaresan Gohulabalan and Dora Tay cited several aggravating factors such as their abuse of authority.
“He virtually treated Fitriyah as a punching bag upon which he could vent his frustrations on matters that had nothing to do with her,” said the prosecutors.
Both are appealing and are out on $5,000 bail each.
In an advisory last night, a spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower urged foreign domestic worker (FDW) employers to be patient and understanding towards their helpers.
“If employers or FDWs are facing problems with their employment relationship, they should approach their employment agency, or call the Centre for Domestic Employees at 1800 2255 233 for advice and assistance,” he said.