A Singaporean couple – Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon – were jailed on Monday (27 March) for starving their Filipina domestic worker over a period of 15 months between 2013 and 2014.
Lim, a trader, was jailed three weeks and fined S$10,000, while Chong was jailed for three months. The couple have four children.
The couple’s maid Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, who is in her 40s, was given only white bread and instant noodles to eat twice a day during the period. By the time she ran away in April 2014 and sought help from migrant advocacy group HOME, Gawidan had lost almost 20kg and weighed just 29kg.
According to media reports, the prosecution will appeal against the sentences, having asked for a year’s jail for each of them. For their offences, the couple could have been jailed up to one year each and/or fined $10,000 each.
The couple, who are both 47 and have four children, were found guilty in March 2016 of failing to provide Gawidan with enough food while she was employed by them.
The couple also paid Gawidan $20,000 as part of a settlement agreement, which precludes Gawidan from suing them in civil proceedings.
Chong had claimed that her actions were due to her mental illness as she had been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder as an adult.