The HDB estate on Jurong West Street 64, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
The HDB estate on Jurong West Street 64, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A couple accused of beating their foreign domestic helper and not giving her enough food were found not guilty by a court in Singapore on Friday.

Police received a citizen’s report in March 2016 of suspected maid abuse at his neighbor’s home – an HDB flat at Jurong West Street 64 – over a period of two weeks, as he could overhear a woman shouting at the maid, Shin Min Daily News reported.

Police found that the alleged victim – a maid whose age and nationality was not disclosed – had scars on her forehead and the skin on her hands and legs were peeling. The maid said the injuries were inflicted by her male employer, who slapped her face and forced her to wash clothes in hot water with her bare hands.

According to the maid’s statement to police on March 20, 2016, she was taken to the study in the home and beaten by her boss, after she had just been scolded by her female employer for not being able to prepare a bath as scheduled.

But the court found inconsistencies in the maid’s statement and said the victim failed to clarify them, claiming she had forgotten the details. Meanwhile, the doctor who saw the maid said she did not reveal that her injuries were mostly inflicted or caused by physical abuse by her employer.

The defendant told the judge they intended to send the maid away as she had been caught red-handed stealing money from home twice, plus she was allegedly slack at work most of the time.

He denied beating her but admitted he raised his voice and shouted at her in order to get her to finish the chores faster.

Given unresolved inconsistencies in the maid’s statement, and the fact she never sought any assistance against the alleged abuse, the judge could not accept that she was a genuine victim, and thus ruled that the employer was not guilty of abuse.

The maid’s lawyer said an appeal would be filed on her behalf.