SINGAPORE - A former Myanmar maid told a court on Monday (April 4) that her male employer made her and another maid go on all fours and then kicked them on their buttocks.
Ms Moe Moe Than, 27, unemployed, said this happened after both she and Indonesian domestic worker Fitriyah, now 36, had denied folding a small piece of paper belonging to his daughter.
She said the paper, which seemed to be very important, was folded in. Both maids were asked by IT manager Tay Wee Kiat who folded it, but neither of them said they did it.
He then made them go on all fours and kicked them.
"I fell on the floor. I hit the glass panel. She (Fitriyah) also fell on the glass panel and on the floor. I was in pain," she said through a Myanmar interpreter.
She also told the court that Tay, 38, made the two of them slap each other 10 times and to "worship'' in front of the altar when they were both Christians.
The reason: Tay discovered that the cloth covering the statues on the altar table had been moved and questioned them.
She said she and the other maid did what was told as they were afraid that they would not be given food to eat.
The court heard that Ms Than began working for the household in Yishun in December 2011. In October 2012, her female employer, Chia Yun Ling, 41, sent her to the airport after telling her that she was taking her to the police station.
She said she did not know why she was being sent to the airport. Chia also told her not to talk to anyone at the airport.
Two months later, she returned to Singapore. She she wanted to "report'' the employers, and that she did not want others to go through what she had gone through.
She was picked up by her maid agent who referred her to the Ministry of Manpower. She was then taken to a shelter.
Tay, who faces a total of 23 charges, has claimed trial to 12 proceeded charges. Two of these relate to allegedly offering to pay Ms Fitriyah her full salary and send her home if she did not report him; and for allegedly abetting her to give false information to the police in December 2012.
The other charges accuse him of assaulting Ms Fitriyah with a cane or bamboo stick, instructing her to stand on a stool while holding another stool above her head and forcing a plastic bottle into her mouth, pulling her out of the car causing her to fall, making her do push-ups and kicking her.
The alleged offences happened between February 2011 and December 2012.
Chia, a sales manager, is being tried on two charges of hurting Ms Fitriyah by slapping her twice in June 2012, and punching her on the forehead three times on Dec 7, 2012.
Earlier, Ms Than said her employer restricted her to drinking and going to the toilet to ease herself three times a day.
"If I did not follow the instructions, they would ask me to jump like a rabbit," she said.
Objecting, the couple's lawyer Wee Pan Lee said Ms Than was not a victim in any of the charges that the court was proceeding. He said the evidence was "prejudicial'' to the defence and asked that the evidence be struck out.
District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said the evidence would have to be treated very carefully. He took note of counsel's objection and said he would not attach any weight to that piece of evidence.
If convicted, the couple could be jailed for up to three years and fined $7,500 per causing hurt charge.
This article was first published on April 4, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.