Singapore Couple Jailed For Starving Filipina Helper

The Singaporean couple who infamously starved their Filipina domestic helper leading her to weigh only 29 kg by the time she managed to escape have both been sentenced to jail.

According to Channel News Asia, Lim Choon Hong, the husband, received a three-week prison term on top of a $10,000 fine, while wife Chong Sui Foon was handed three month’s jail sentence. However, prosecutors plan to appeal for even heavier sentences — 12 months in prison for each of the defendants.

The couple was already convicted for failing to provide Filipino domestic helper Thelma Oyasan Gawidan with enough food while she was employed by them. During her 15 months working for thec couple, she lost 20 kg, after being fed only slices of bread and instant noodles twice a day. Even on lucky days, she would receive small portions of tomato, cucumber and meat the size of her small finger. Every time Gawadan asked her employer for more food, Chong would often refuse.

The maid’s mobile phone and passport was confiscated from her as well as her salary. Gawidan was also forced to sleep odd hours in a storeroom in their Orchard Road condo, and showers have become a luxury — she could do only once or twice a week.

After suffering for over a year, Gawidan managed to escape in April 2014, and sought help from non-profit organisation HOME.

While the helper was deprived of food, Chog was reportedly force-feeding her husband and children. Her claim that her obsessive-compulsive disorder was to blame for mistreating the Filipino, psychiatrists denied such mental illness.

Instead, Chong’s behaviour “stemmed from and reflected a selective and discriminatory perception and treatment of the victim,” said District Judge Low Wee Ping.

It was also revealed that the couple had paid off Gawidan $20,000 as part of a settlement agreement which would disable her from suing them in civil proceedings.

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