Singapore court jails Indian-origin woman for hurting maid

SINGAPORE (TIP): A Singaporean woman of Indian-origin, who tortured her Myanmarese maid over a period of three months, burning her with a heated metal ladle and beating her with a grinding tool, was jailed for 15 months on June 25.

Suganthi Jayaraman, 34, who pleaded guilty to three charges of maid abuse, was also ordered to pay SGD 4,900 compensation to Naw Mu Den Paw.

The court heard she scalded the 24-year-old maid in the kitchen of her apartment on September 28, 2013, as she was not happy with the curry the helper had cooked.

She heated an 18 cm-long ladle until it was red-hot before sweeping it over the woman’s left calf and back, according to media reports on Thursday.

No medication was given to Paw, who was told to wear long pants to cover up the injury.

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Earlier on September 20, she had been unhappy with the helper for not frying vadais quickly enough.

Suganthi grabbed a metal pestle and hit her on the back of her head as well as near her right eyebrow.

Paw bled heavily but was not given medical attention. Instead, she was told to finish frying the vadais and deliver them to the mini-mart run by Suganthi and her husband where the snacks were to be sold. On September 30, she punched the maid in the left eye after the victim, who had finished work at 4am, was not up by 6.30am to take Suganthi’s daughter to school.

Three other similar charges and a fourth charge of using criminal force were considered during Suganthi’s sentencing. District Judge Christopher Goh said her acts were particularly aggravating and the use of a metal pestle and a heated metal ladle to hurt the domestic worker was “cruel and inhumane”.

He noted that the abuses had occurred over a period of about three months until the victim ran away from the employer home on October 3 of the same year.

Judge Goh agreed with the prosecution that Suganthi’s actions were deliberate, malicious and also showed a profound lack of respect for the domestic maid’s welfare and dignity.

“In my view, you seem to treat the victim as a chattel rather than a fellow human being. There is no legitimate reason why an employer should inflict any injury on any of their employees,” The Straits Times quoted the Judge as saying. Suganthi could have been jailed for up to 10-and-a-half years and fined for causing hurt with a heated substance.

The punishment for the other two offences is a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to SGD 7,500 each.

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