Over $28k raised for ex-maid cleared of stealing from Changi Airport Group chairman

Parti Liyani with her lawyer Anil Balchandani and personnel from Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics after her acquittal on Sept 4.
PHOTO: Facebook/migrantworkerssg

After a four-year legal battle — during which she was not allowed to work — Parti Liyani is taking the first steps to rebuild her life.

Over $28,000 has been raised in an online fundraiser for Parti, the former domestic worker who was acquitted on Friday (Sept 4) of stealing over $34,000 worth of items from Changi Airport Group (CAG) chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family.

Spearheaded by non-profit group Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics (Home), the fundraiser, hosted on Giving.sg, hit its target sum within a day after it was launched yesterday and currently does not appear to be accepting additional donations. 

The money will go towards setting up a food business once Parti, 46, returns to Indonesia, Home said.

"As she was unable to earn any income for the past four years, your donations will help her rebuild her life and realise her dreams, and allow her to support herself and her family in a sustained way," it explained.

Parti is also planning to seek compensation from her former employers, her lawyer Anil Balchandani confirmed.

Balchandani, who is acting pro bono, said the compensation amount will be based roughly on four years' worth of Parti's wages, which was $600 a month.

He added: "Whatever the amount we get, I think we will be necessarily grateful for."

A four-year ordeal

Parti has been staying at Home's shelter since December 2016, when investigations into the alleged theft commenced.

She was found guilty of four counts of theft by a district judge in March 2019 and sentenced to two years and two months' jail.

She appealed the judgement and was eventually acquitted by High Court judge Chan Seng Onn.

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Maid acquitted of stealing over $34k worth of items from Changi Airport Group chairman's home
Maid acquitted of stealing over $34k worth of items from Changi Airport Group chairman's home

Justice Chan noted that the Liew family had "improper motives" and found the testimony of Karl Liew, Liew Mun Leong's son, "highly suspect".

Before she was fired by the Liews in October 2016, Parti had expressed her unhappiness at being made to clean the younger Liew's house and office.

"There is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realising her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly without giving her sufficient time for her to pack, in the hope that Parti would not use the time to make a complaint to (the Ministry of Manpower)," Justice Chan commented.

Parti is still not permitted to leave the country as she has a fifth charge pending involving the possession of allegedly fraudulently obtained items, including wallets and EZ-link cards.

Various agencies looking into handling of case

Parti may have been acquitted, but questions still remain regarding the handling of her case.

The police, Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in separate statements on yesterday that they are looking into the matter.

In its statement, the police noted that "several observations" about its investigations had been raised and said it was looking into them.

While it did not detail the observations in question, Justice Chan had said in his judgement that there was a "clear break in the chain of custody of evidence".

Besides a five-week delay in photographing and seizing the items which were said to be stolen by Parti, Investigation Officer Tang Ru Long had allowed the Liew family to use the items to avoid "re-victimising" them, Justice Chan found.

Two statements were also taken from Parti without any interpreters present.

Meanwhile, the AGC said it would study the judgment to assess what further action, if any, ought to be taken.

Justice Chan's comments "do raise questions which warrant further investigations", it said.

MOM, which confirmed it had issued an advisory to Karl Liew and a caution to his mother over Parti's illegal deployment, is also in consultation with the AGC as to whether further action is needed regarding the case.