Couple in S'pore beat helper, rubbed faeces on her face & forced her to drink toilet water

They pleaded guilty in court to seven charges of abuse on Aug. 30.

Jane Zhang | September 01, 2021, 04:26 AM

A couple in Singapore abused their Indonesian domestic worker — splashing her with hot water, wiping a faeces-filled diaper in her face, hitting her, and more — over the period of several months before she ran away and sought help.

On Monday (Aug. 30), Singapore permanent resident Ooi Wei Voen and her Singaporean husband Pang Chen Yong — both 37 years old — pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges of abusing Indonesian domestic worker Sri Rahayu, reported CNA.

Worked from 6:30am until 1am, had no rest days

According to court documents seen by Mothership, Ooi, a Malaysian national, began employing Sri Rahayu on Apr. 19, 2017. It was Sri Rahayu's first job in Singapore.

Ooi and Pang — both employed as IT engineers at the time — had a two-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter.

Sri Rahayu was hired to take care of the family's baby daughter and perform other household chores, such as cleaning, cooking, and washing.

She typically began work at 6:30am and only completed her chores at 1am.

She did not have a mobile phone, and was not given any off days.

Whenever she made a mistake on any of her household chores, Pang or Ooi would make her record her mistake on a mistake sheet, and also told her that they would deduct her salary for each mistake.

Abuse began three months into employment

About three months into Sri Rahayu's employment, Pang and Ooi began to hit her when she did not do her housework to their satisfaction.

When Ooi got upset, she would slap Sri Rahayu's cheeks until they became red, once even causing a cut on her lips. She also would pound the domestic worker's forehead with her fist, hit her hand with a metal ruler, or make her perform squats.

Once, when Sri Rahayu failed to ensure that the laundry was dry, Ooi punished her by instructing her to wet her clothes and sleep in them, causing the domestic worker to sleep in wet clothes that night.

When Pang was upset, he would hit Sri Rahayu on her head and upper arms, causing bruising.

Hit her with sauce pan until handle broke

Sometime in mid-2017, Pang became upset with Sri Rahayu and scolded her for failing to perform her chores well.

He then went to the kitchen to get a Teflon sauce pan, which he used to hit the domestic worker on her arms several times. He only stopped hitting her when the handle to the sauce pan broke.

The abuse caused Sri Rahayu to sustain bruises and swelling on both arms. As a result, she was disallowed for a period of time from hanging clothes on the balcony or leaving the house to throw rubbish, out of fear that neighbours would see the bruising.

Pounded her forehead and eye with fist at Sentosa

Sometime in August 2017, Pang and Ooi brought Sri Rahayu along on a hotel stay in Sentosa, to take care of their children.

Ooi became upset when the baby began to cry and she realised that that baby's milk was hot. She then pounded Sri Rahayu's forehead and eye with her fist, which were particularly painful for Sri Rahayu as her forehead had already been bruised from previous abuse from Ooi.

As a result, her forehead and eye became swollen, to the point where she was unable to see properly.

Ooi made Sri Rahayu wear a tudung when they left the hotel, to cover up her swollen forehead.

Rubbed faeces-filled diaper in face, forced to drink toilet bowl water

Sometime between July and November 2017, Ooi became upset with Sri Rahayu, and rubbed a pair of the baby's diapers that was filled with faeces in her face.

On another occasion around the same time, Ooi instructed the domestic worker to drink water from the toilet bowl, telling her that she would stand there and watch her until Sri Rahayu drank the toilet bowl water.

The domestic worker did what she was told, as she did not want to be hit by Ooi.

Splashed her with hot water

On an afternoon in October 2017, Ooi became angry at Sri Rahayu because the baby was crying and refusing to sleep. Ooi grabbed a thermos flask from the dining table — which Sri Rahayu had filled with boiling water earlier that morning — and poured the hot water onto the domestic worker.

Hit her legs with metal ladle

Sri Rahayu was left alone in the family's home with the baby for most of the day, but Ooi would constantly monitor her via CCTV live feed, and would return home in the middle of the day to check on her.

One afternoon before Christmas 2017, Ooi saw through from the CCTV livestream that the domestic worker was doing other household chores, leaving the children unattended.

Ooi took half-day leave from work and returned home to confront Sri Rahayu. She took a metal ladle from the kitchen and hit the domestic worker multiple times on both of her thighs with it, causing her to faint from pain. Even after she regained consciousness, she felt giddy for a while.

Sri Rahayu's legs were swollen and bruised, and she had difficulty walking for a few days after the incident.

Multiple abuses led to ear injury

Sometime between October and November 2017, Pang blamed Sri Rahayu for being late in preparing the baby's milk and causing the baby to cry.

He then grabbed, pulled, and scratched the domestic worker's ears, causing them to become itchy and swollen, and the left one to bleed.

Ooi was present and saw this abuse occur. Yet, a few days later, she herself further injured Sri Rahayu's ear by forcefully slapping it after alleging that the domestic worker had sneezed near the baby's milk bottle.

Sri Rahayu's ear became more swollen and painful.

On Nov. 22, 2017, Ooi brought the domestic worker to a clinic for her mandatory six-monthly medical check-up. During the check-up, the doctor did not speak to Sri Rahayu at all, and spoke only to Ooi.

The requirements for the mandatory medical check-up have since been changed to prohibit employers or their representatives from being present during their domestic workers' check-ups, but this had not been case at that time.

The doctor's medical report stated that the domestic worker was bitten by an unknown insect a few days prior, but that was false.

He diagnosed her with left ear lobe erythema and diffuse swelling of the left pinna, and prescribed antibiotics to her for one week.

After more than one month, the swelling of Sri Rahayu's ear did not subside, so on Dec. 30, 2017, Ooi brought her to a clinic.

Ooi told Sri Rahayu to lie to the doctor that she had already had a deformed left year prior to coming to Singapore. According to the doctor's report, Sri Rahayu had sustained an ear injury in Indonesia two years prior, when she was hit by her husband.

In reality, however, this was untrue, and she did not have such a deformity when she had arrived in Singapore.

The doctor prescribed her antibiotics and advised her to visit a specialist for further management. However, she was never brought to a specialist.

Ran away and sought help

Around 1am on Jan. 1, 2018, Pang became upset at Sri Rahayu for not informing him that his daughter had a fever.

He picked up a plastic scoop while outside the toilet and splashed cold water on Sri Rahayu's head and drenching her whole body. He also used the plastic scoop to hit her head several times.

Before Sri Rahayu was able to change her clothes, Ooi also confronted her and scolded her, calling her "stupid".

Ooi subsequently began kicking the domestic worker in the stomach, causing her to fall against a plastic cabinet and bump her head.

Ooi kept kicking Sri Rahayu while she was on the ground.

Then, while Pang and Ooi were attending to their daughter, Sri Rahayu ran away from the residence. She sought help from another Indonesian domestic worker who happened to be passing by, and was brought to a police station.

At around 1:55am on Jan. 2, Ooi called the police, stating: "Maid run away."

Sri Rahayu was found to have developed a cauliflower deformity of her left ear lobe with mild tenderness. She was referred to the Ear Nose Throat clinic of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), where the results of a pure tone audiogram showed a mild to moderate conductive hearing loss on the left ear.

The doctor found that the cauliflower ear deformity, involving the upper two-thirds of the pinna, may have been the result of trauma, and is likely to be a permanent deformity.

After police investigations commenced, Ministry of Manpower facilitated full repayment of the victim’s salary by Pang and Ooi.

Sentenced to 20 months' and four months' imprisonment

The prosecution asked for prison sentences of two years and three months for Ooi, and four-and-a-half months for Pang.

CNA reported that the court heard that both Ooi and Pang had been suffering with major depressive disorder at the time.

However, the prosecution argued that these were not shown to have substantially contributed to their offences.

The prosecution also pointed out the lengths to which Pang and Ooi had gone to conceal Sri Rahayu's injuries.

Ooi's and Pang's lawyer, Mervyn Tan of Anthony Law Corporation, claimed that the couple had tried to treat their domestic worker as part of their family by taking her out to meals and allowing her to continue caring for their children, according to CNA.

Ooi was given a 20-month prison sentence, and Pang was sentenced to four months' imprisonment.

Pang's sentence will begin on Monday, CNA reported. Meanwhile, Ooi's sentence has been deferred to Jan. 3, in order to allow at least one parent to be around to take care of their children.

Top photo by Quinton Coetzee on Unsplash. 

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