HDB Block 353 Kang Ching, in Jurong West, Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 49-year-old local woman was jailed for three months and two weeks by a Singapore court on Monday after pleading guilty to two charges of causing hurt and one count of using threatening behavior to cause alarm to her 23-year-old Indonesian domestic worker between May and August in 2016.

Lee Siew Choon, a clerk by employment, hired the domestic worker named Yani from May 24, 2016 and got her to work at her apartment in Block 353 on Kang Ching Road at Jurong West – for 19 hours a day, from 5.25am till midnight, the Shin Min Daily News reported.

The court learned that the victim had been deprived of having days off and barred from external communication, as she was not permitted her to have a mobile phone.

The employer was reportedly hard to please and abusive towards the worker as soon as Yani began working for her.

Lee allegedly pinched the worker, on her arms and back, as punishment from time to time for any mistakes she made. She also ordered the worker to stay silent about the abuse.

On one occasion Lee threatened the worker by tapping her face with the side of a kitchen knife blade because Yani had not adhered to the employer’s way of cutting onions.

Once while the worker was cleaning the house, Lee pinched her face and arms with force non-stop throughout that period of time.

Then on the morning of August 1, the accused became furious with the worker because she had not opened a window while hanging out clothes to dry in the room.

The employer vented her anger by punching the worker in her left eye, causing her vision to blur. She then grabbed a wooden pole and hit it against Yani’s arm and pinched her left hand.

When Lee Siew Choon left home to go to work that afternoon, Yani took the opportunity to run away and found a passerby who gave her some coins, allowing her to use a public phone at a nearby market to seek police assistance.

A medical examination confirmed multiple small old scars all over her entire abdominal area, plus her lower back and both arms. She still had visible marks on her body as of August last year.

Prior to sentencing, the employer had given the worker S$6,828 (US$5,065) in compensation.

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