Pasir Ris Drive 1, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
Pasir Ris Drive 1, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 63-year-old woman was sentenced to 28 weeks in jail by a Singapore State Court on Monday after being found guilty of four counts of voluntarily causing hurt and one count of using criminal force on a 24-year-old Indonesian woman.

The accused was Khoo Mee Choo, daughter of a 93-year-old woman named Chin Ah Lian who hired the victim, Ema Rahmawati, as a domestic worker in December 2016, the Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.

The elderly woman often stayed at her daughter’s home in Pasir Ris Drive 1, where Rahmawati was required to take care of various chores.

The court learned that from the start of her employment, Rahmawati was forbidden by the accused from communicating with others and was not allowed to use her mobile phone.

After the first month of employment, Khoo also began verbally and physically abusing the victim, including frequently using vulgarities while scolding her, punching the victim in the head, kicking her buttocks, pulling her hair, and hitting and pinching her with chopsticks on separate occasions over a three-month period.

The young Indonesian woman initially kept everything to herself by noting the abuse in her diary, but finally could no longer put up with Khoo’s maltreatments, and resorted to passing notes to a compatriot named Atika who worked next door.

Later the neighbor discovered the notes by chance and filed a report to the authorities when one note wrote started with the victim saying she was “unable to take it any more.”

Khoo, who told the court through her lawyer that she had been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and the stress might have prompted her to act out of character, also argued that Rahmawati’s injuries were either self-inflicted or accidental. She also denied abusing the worker or raising her voice to her.

However, the neighbor testified that she had heard raised voices from Khoo’s home, which included using Indonesian words such as babi (pig) and bodo (stupid).

The court also learned that after deduction of her agency fee, Rahmawati was paid S$10 (US$7.30) a month, and by the time she left the job, she received only S$40. The court thus prior to sentencing ordered the accused to pay S$4,580 to the domestic worker as part of compensation and wages.

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