A Singaporean couple is on trial for neglecting their domestic helper after being accused of not providing her enough food.
The domestic worker identified as Ms. Thelma Oyasan Gawidan has starved for a year and three months, causing her weight to drop from 49 kg to 29 kg. Gawidan has claimed that she was only given two meals in a day of instant noodles and bread. Few months after the aforementioned diet, she started losing her hair.
Her employers, husband and wife Lim Choon Hong and Chong Sui Foon, are on trial for starving their maid. If found guilty Lim, a trader, and Chong, a housewife, could face a fine up to 10,000 USD and imprisonment of up to 12 months.
Ms. Thelma eventually managed to escape to Far East Shopping Center, near couple’s house, and hid there. She called her hometown friend Ms. Lilibeth using a by passer’s cell phone. Ms. Lilibeth came to her aid and took her to a shelter home run by the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics.
On Tuesday morning, Ms. Thelma told the court that she had no access to communication devices and did not get her days off. Chong and Lim also withheld her salary, giving the excuse that by the time I return home, I have a lot of money to bring home.
Moreover, the victim also revealed she slept in a storeroom and was not allowed to use the bathroom in the house for any reason. She could only take shower once or twice at a public toilet in the Orchard Road condominium under the supervision of her employers.
The overseas worker was also not allowed to brush her teeth and had to ask for permission to drink water. In the recent years, Singapore and Hong Kong have become the centers for mistreatment and abuse of domestic helpers. The trial continues on Wednesday. IMAGE/Getty Images