A Myanmar nurse on a scholarship from Singapore’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH) was sentenced to only 1 year jail for assaulting an elderly mental patient whose limbs were tied to his bed. When attending to patient Kong Ah Hoe, 56, at around 5.55am on 17 Feb 2015, IMH nurse Aung Phyo Thu, 26, violently punched and kicked the patient, resulting in the latter suffering two broken ribs and head injuries.

As the patient was restrained and suffering from schizophrenia, he was not able to defend himself. The ward supervisor who found Kong Ah Hoe severely injured questioned Aung Phyo Thu about the injuries to which the IMH nurse said the patient inflicted the injuries upon himself.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ma Han Feng waxed lyrical about the nurse abusing his position of trust and responsibility but only called for a 1 year jail sentence out of a maximum 10 years’ jail. This greatly contrast with assault cases committed by Singaporeans in road rage or drunken cases. The Singapore mainstream media has also censored Aung Phyo Thu’s face and did not take a single photo of the foreigner, which is unlike the case for Singaporean-related assault cases. It is understood that there is an unspoken direction from the Singapore government to cover up immigrant-related crimes because many Singaporean locals are feeling marginalized from pro-foreigner government policies.

Aung Phyo Thu’s S$80,000 scholarship is awarded from IMH and aside from enjoying fully paid up tuition fees, he gets a monthly allowance and guaranteed employment with the national hospital. It is unknown whether Singaporean students are lavished with such benefits.