Merlion in Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
Merlion in Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A senior prosecutor in Singapore has told a court that a local couple convicted in March of physical abuse of an Indonesian domestic worker between 2010 and 2012 should face longer jail terms for their crimes.

Tay Wee Kiat, a former regional IT manager, and his wife Chia Yun Ling, were sentenced to 28 months and two months in jail, respectively, for physically abusing a domestic worker surnamed Fitriyah, 34. But the couple filed an appeal to the High Court in a bid to shorten their jail terms, The Straits Times reported.

In an appeal hearing on Thursday, the couple’s legal representatives said the pair should be cleared of all charges because there were “inconsistencies” in the domestic worker’s testimony.

However, Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck, a prosecutor, proposed that the couple’s jail terms be increased. Kwek suggested that there should be three jail-sentence categories for offenders who abuse their domestic workers, depending on the degree of harm and the level of culpability.

Offenders could be sentenced to at least three months jail for slapping their maid, at least nine months for using objects to inflict harm on them, and 18 months for those who inflict severe harm such as by burning the victim.

Kwek said Tay should fall into the last category and get a 38-month jail term while his wife should be jailed for three months, The New Paper reported.

According to previous media reports, Tay used three canes bundled together to hit his domestic worker, while Chia slapped and punched the maid. The couple was also on trial for abusing Moe Moe Than, a 28-year-old Myanmar domestic worker.

In Singapore, a person who causes “simple hurt” to a domestic worker faces a jail term of up to three years.

The court has yet to make a decision on the couple’s appeal.

Read: Employers who deprive maids of food may face more jail time

Read: Harsher jail terms for couple who starved Filipina maid

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