A Singaporean husband and wife duo were jailed three weeks and three months respectively for treating their maid like a slave. In her 15-month employment with the demonic family, Filipino Thelma Oyasan Gawidan lost 20kg due to intense hunger she suffers everyday.
The 47-year-old millionaire couple – Lim Choon Hong and Chong Sui Foon – resided in a private condominum at the Boulevard Residence in Cuscaden Walk, and hired the Filipino helper in 2013. The maid was restricted to have meals only twice a day – with the first meal at around 1am to 2am, consisting of two or three slices of plain white bread and one or two packets of instant noodles, and the second meal at around late morning or early afternoon, with five or six slices of plain white bread.
According to the court’s hearing, the maid had to ask for permission each time she wanted to drink water, only to be given tap water later. The Filipino maid also had to sleep in the storeroom and she was also disallowed the use of house’s toilets. Thelma Gawidan was only allowed to use the common corridor toilet of the condominium outside the apartment unit, and shower only once or twice a week – and each time she shower, the woman employer, Chong Sui Foon, would stand inside the toilet and watch her shower.
Due to the ill treatment and constant starvation, the maid stopped menstruating and started dropping a lot of hair. She was also unable to seek help as her employers confiscated her phone and passport. Thelma Gawidan only managed to escape in April 2014.
The husband and wife duo were sentenced to 3 weeks and 3 months’ jail respectively, and ordered to pay a S$10,000 compensation to Thelma Gawidan. However, the rich Singaporean couple are appealing their sentences and currently out on a S$3,000 bail each. The rich Singapore couple have three children aged between 17 and 22 years old, but the children were not charged.
Many Singaporeans are aghast at the sentencing and calling for the prosecution to appeal for heavier sentences.