04 April 2017

Singapore Couple Who Starved Maid Now In Jail

Singapore Couple
The Singaporean couple who starved their domestic worker from the Philippines was finally jailed, in a case that has shocked the city-state.

The woman lost 20kg (44 lbs) - about 40 pecent of her body weight - while working for them, and was given only bread and instant noodles to eat.

According to BBC, the employers received jail sentences of three weeks and three months.

Many Singaporeans hire live-in helpers from neighbouring countries, and abuse cases are not uncommon.

In the latest case, Filipino domestic worker Thelma Oyasan Gawidan was starved over a period of 15 months, where her weight dropped from 49kg to 29kg.

She testified in court that she was fed only small amounts of food twice a day, and her requests for more food were denied. She was also made to sleep in a storeroom, and allowed to shower only once or twice a week.

Gawidan said she was unable to seek help earlier as her employers had confiscated her mobile phone and passport.

She finally fled in April 2014 and sought help from a migrant workers aid group.

Her employers, finance trader Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, pleaded guilty. However, they claimed that they treated Gawidan the same way they treated themselves, as they ate and showered infrequently due to Chong's "obsessions" with food and cleaning her home. Psychiatrists testified that she had obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia.

Prosecutors pointed out that the family ate better food and in larger quantities. They sought the maximum jail sentence of one year for the couple.

Lim was jailed for three weeks and fined S$10,000 (US$ 7,175, £5,700), while Chong was jailed for three months.