An Indian-origin woman, who is a former warrant officer in the Singapore Army, was today jailed for four months and three weeks for abusing and beating her Indian maid, according to the agencies.
K Rajakumari, 57, who retired after 35 years of service, apologised to Sargunam Jeeva in Tamil and asked her to hush up the regular bouts of abuse the maid was subjected to including being beaten by a plastic hanger until it broke. However, the police officer investigating the case understood the language and Rajakumari was caught.
She was charged for repeatedly abusing her maid in 2012.
After a 14-day trial, District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid convicted Rajakumari on September 5 last year of five counts of causing hurt to Jeeva, then 35, in her condominium apartment.
Jeeva first came to Singapore in late January 2012 and was abused between February and March of the same year. Rajakumari had employed Jeeva for SGD350 a month.
What started off as verbal abuse soon turned physical and brutal for Jeeva who had studied only till the eighth grade and could not speak English.
On the night of March 3, 2012, after Jeeva ironed Rajakumari's uniform, the employer first rebuked her for a job not done well. She then hit Jeeva on her left upper arm with a plastic hanger until it broke.
Two days later, she scolded and slapped the maid hard on her face before pulling her hair and pushing her face against the window grill and kicking her in the waist.
Jeeva told the employer that she could not "withstand this torture anymore" and requested Rajakumari to send her back to the agent's house. But Rajakumari refused. That night, Jeeva gestured to a maid in a neighbouring home for help and the latter called the police.
A policeman later heard Rajakumari tell Jeeva in Tamil: "Please forgive me, I won't do this anymore, please don't tell anyone about the abuse". Unknown to Rajakumari, the officer could speak the language.
Rajakumari later admitted to him that she had hit Jeeva. Rajakumari's lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan had earlier asked the judge to sentence his client to probation, stressing that she has had three hip replacements.
For each count of maid abuse, she could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to SGD7,500.