Singapore couple starve Pinay maid, granted bail

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A Singaporean couple on Monday were sentenced to a total of 15 months in jail after pleading guilty to starving their Filipino maid who lost 20 kilos, from 49 kilos to 29 kilos, over 15 months.

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The couple, however, are out on bail of $3,000 (RM9,495) each pending appeal.

Domestic worker Thelma Oyasan Gawidan had been employed by freelance trader Lim Choon Hong, 47, and his wife Chong Sui Foon, also 47.

Lim was sentenced to three weeks in jail and fined $10,000 (RM31,651) while Chong got three months.
Gawidan, who now works for another employer, was given only two meals a day, causing the 40-year-old to lose weight and be admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The Straits Times reported that Lim was convicted in March last year of a charge of contravening the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012, which requires employers to pay and provide adequate food and medical treatment for their domestic helpers.

Chong was found guilty of abetting Lim in committing the offense.

The report said the first meal, which was usually provide around 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., consisted of two to three slices of plain white bread and one to two packets of instant noodles.

In some instances, Chong would mix small portions of vegetables and meat with the instant noodles.

The second meal, according to the report, was provided late morning or early afternoon, and consisted of five to six slices of plain white bread.

The couple’s food and that of their children were greater in quantity and higher in nutritional value than what their helper was rationed with.

Worse, Gawidan had to ask for permission before drinking water, only to be given tap water.

The maid was not allowed to use their toilets and was forced to use the common toilet in the condominium.
She could only take a shower once or twice a week and Chong would stand inside the toilet while she was taking a bath.

Lim, in defense, said his wife had previously suffered from anorexia nervosa — an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat — and from obsessive-compulsive disorder, adding that because of her preferences, their lifestyle “revolved around food and cleanliness.”

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