Supreme Court of Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
Supreme Court of Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A Singaporean couple who were convicted in a District Court around two years ago of physically and psychologically abusing their Indonesian domestic worker lost their appeal against that verdict on Friday, with the husband’s sentence increased to 43 months from 28 months originally. The wife’s two-month sentence was retained.

The couple have also been charged with abusing a second maid, a Myanmar national; that case is ongoing.

Tay Wee Kiat, 39, a former regional information-technology manager,  was handed a harsher sentence of 43 months by High Court Justice See Kee Oon, who found his original jail term “manifestly inadequate” given the degree of psychological harm inflicted against the Indonesian maid, Shin Min Daily News reported.

The High Court heard that on one occasion during the two maids’ employment between February 2011 and December 2012, Tay forced his 34-year-old Indonesian maid named Fitriyah and 28-year-old Myanmar maid named Moe Moe Than to slap each other 10 times.

What was more humiliating and degrading was that the two maids had been forced by Tay to bow and get up 100 times before a Buddhist altar, even though Fitriyah is Muslim and Moe Moe Than is Christian.

The employer’s behavior had been highly cruel and humiliating, causing not only physical pain but also more serious psychological harm to the victims, Justice See said in explaining the higher jail term for Tay.

Meanwhile, the two-month sentence for 41-year-old wife Chia Yun Ling, a former senior sales manager, was retained. She had been convicted of slapping Fitriyah between June and December 2012, and punching her forehead on December 7 of the same year.

As the trial regarding the couple’s alleged abuse of the Myanmar maid, Moe Moe Than, is ongoing, the sentences for their abuse of Fitriyah will not commence until after that court proceeding is complete.

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