Maid jailed for hitting employer

Maid jailed for hitting employer
Madam Seah was hurt when she tried to intervene. The maid was sentenced to three months' jail.

SINGAPORE - A maid who hit a 66-year-old retiree with a bamboo pole and stomped on her foot, causing it to fracture, was sentenced to three months' jail yesterday.

Myanmar national Cing Sian Huai pleaded guilty to hurting Grace Toh Ah Bay on April 27 in a Bedok flat, where she worked as a maid for the victim and her mother, Seah Cheng Poh, 93.

The court heard that the incident happened when Cing refused to continue cleaning the dishes after Madam Toh scolded her for not doing a proper job.

The 24-year-old maid then said she did not want to continue working and insisted on returning to the employment agency immediately. Madam Toh, however, refused to unlock the gate.

Cing then tried to force open the lock using a window wiper.

When this failed, she started hitting the lock and gate with a bamboo pole. Both the wiper and pole were broken in the process.

Madam Toh tried to calm Cing down, but the maid pushed her and hit her hand three times with the broken pole instead, and stomped on her foot after she fell.

Besides a fractured metatarsal bone and bruises on Madam Toh's foot, the attack left her with bruises on her arms.

Cing also pushed Madam Seah when she tried to intervene, causing her to fall and hit her thigh on a wooden chair on the way down.

One charge of using criminal force arising from this action, and another for causing hurt with the bamboo pole, were taken into consideration against Cing.

Handing down the sentence, District Judge Lim Tse Haw said Cing's actions had far outweighed any provocation against her, and that the injury caused was not minor.

"Just as the court will protect domestic helpers against violence by their employers, it has an equal duty to protect employers, especially elderly ones, against violence by their domestic helpers," said the judge.

Cing is understood to have begun working for the victims in March and has been in remand since she was first charged at the end of April.

She is expected to be released from prison soon, considering the three months already spent in remand, and then repatriated home.

The maid, who had no previous convictions, could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000 for voluntarily causing hurt.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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