Couple guilty of maid abuse get bail

GEORGE TOWN - The High Court here granted a stay of execution and bail, pending an appeal by a couple on their 24-year jail term for starving their Cambodian housemaid to death.

Judge Datuk Zamani Abdul Rahim allowed bail of RM150,000 (S$58,600) each for Soh Chew Tong, 44, and Chin Chui Ling, 42, in two sureties.

He also ordered the couple to surrender their passports to the court and report to the Simpang Ampat police station between the first and third of every month.

"After taking into consideration the written and oral submissions by both the applicants and respondent, I have decided to allow the stay of execution on Soh and Chin.

"They must, however, abide by these conditions," said Zamani.

Soh and Chin, clad in prison garb, nodded when Zamani asked if they understood the conditions.

Chin broke into tears and Soh smiled at their police escorts after Zamani left the courtroom.

Soh and Chin, both hardware store owners, were sentenced on May 16 for culpable homicide not amounting to murder of Mey Sichan under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code.

Their act allegedly had resulted in the death of 24-year-old Mey, who died because of prolonged starvation that caused acute gastritis and ulcers, and whose body also revealed scars, lacerations and bruises during a post- mortem.

Mey was found dead at the couple's shophouse on April 1, last year with 29 old and fresh injuries on her body and was severely dehydrated.

She had sunken cheeks and eye-sockets and weighed only 26.2kg.

She had only started working with the couple in July 2011.

Internal examination on the body revealed that she was bleeding under the skin of her head and the walls of her chest, and abdomen were very thin and almost had no fatty tissues.

Mey also suffered from acute peritonitis because of gastric ulcers a week before she died.