A former army warrant officer of Indian-origin was sentenced to four months and three weeks in jail on Monday, 20 November, for abusing and beating her Indian maid in Singapore.
K Rajakumari, 57, repeatedly abused her maid in 2012, and once even hit the latter with a plastic hanger until it broke. Rajakumari, who retired after 35 years of service, apologised to Sargunam Jeeva in Tamil and told her not to tell anyone about her ordeal.
But, a police officer attending the case understood the language and Rajakumari was caught, the Strait Times reported.
After a 14-day trial, District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid convicted Rajakumari on 5 September on five counts of causing hurt to Jeeva, then 35, in a Canberra Drive condominium near Sembawang Road between February and March 2012.
Jeeva first came to Singapore in late January 2012. Rajakumari had picked the maid up and she was to be paid S$ 350 a month without any days off. She could not speak English.
By the second week of February 2012, Jeeva was regularly scolded with caustic remarks by her employer. The abuse soon turned physical.
On 3 March 2012, after Jeeva ironed Rajakumari's uniform, the employer chided the maid for not knowing how to properly iron clothes. Rajakumari then hit Jeeva with a plastic hanger until it broke.
Two days later, Jeeva was scolded and slapped hard on the face over stale food. She was pulled by her hair and was pushed against window grills. She was also kicked in the waist, the report said.
Jeeva told Rajakumari that she could no longer “withstand the torture any more” and requested to be sent back to the agent’s house.
The maid later sought help in a neighbouring home, who then called the police.
A policeman later heard Rajakumari tell Jeeva in Tamil: "Please forgive me... please don't tell anyone about the abuse."
Unknown to Rajakumari, the police officer could understand the language. Rajakumari later admitted that she had hit the maid.
For each count of maid abuse, Rajakumari could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to S$ 7,500.
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