An employer, worried for her runaway maid's safety, called the police, who reportedly searched eight hours for her in a jungle, only to find out that she had gone to a shelter for maids.
The 60-year-old employer, a housewife who gave her name only as Madam Ye, had woken up on Jan 8 to find her maid missing, Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.
The Indonesian maid, 25, whose name was not disclosed, had worked for less than a month.
She left behind a note, in which she repeatedly apologised to her employer, saying that she decided to leave as she could not bear the stress.
"She kept saying sorry, saying that she'd taken jam, bread and an old watch, which she shouldn't have. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry reading it," Madam Ye told Wanbao.
Later, a backpack belonging to the maid was found at the back of her bungalow in Bukit Batok.
Afraid that the maid had ventured into the nearby jungle, Madam Ye called the maid agency for help, and was told to wait 24 hours before calling the police.
She informed the police on Jan 10. She said two teams, accompanied by police dogs, searched the jungle from 9am to 5pm that same day.
Finding no leads there, the police checked closed-circuit television footage from nearby shops and determined that the maid was not in the jungle.
The next day, the police discovered that she had been taken in by non-governmental organisation Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).
After negotiations, the maid requested to be sent home and Madam Ye paid for her plane ticket.
"I did not mistreat her at all. There were many things she couldn't do. I would even help her out," she said.
She added that she spent about $5,000 hiring the maid and does not dare to employ maids anymore, as they "just up and leave, leaving me dejected and wasting my money".
Madam Ye said police investigations revealed the maid often used her employer's computer to access Facebook.
She thanked the police for their efforts and professionalism for "working on a hot weekend".
A manager at the maid agency, who gave her name only as Ms Zhang, told Wanbao that it is uncommon for maids to run away, with only about 5 per cent of the maids at her agency doing so.
But she added that many maids think they can handle the job before coming here.
Asked why the maid had run away, Jolovan Wham, executive director of Home, told My Paper yesterday that she had alleged ill-treatment but "did not wish to report it as it wasn't serious".
She also claimed she was "scolded a lot".
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