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Alleged maid abuser’s mother fined S$3,000 for helping to drag maid out of Hougang flat

SINGAPORE — A domestic worker refused to leave her employer's home, after several instances of alleged abuse at the hands of her employer’s wife.

Alleged maid abuser’s mother fined S$3,000 for helping to drag maid out of Hougang flat
Hai Yulan, who hails from China, was fined S$3,000 on Dec 10, 2021, after pleading guilty to using criminal force on the maid last year.
  • Hai Yulan’s daughter, Bai Yihong, currently faces multiple charges of assaulting her domestic worker
  • The maid refused to return to the flat after allegedly being abused
  • Bai allegedly yelled at her and kicked her repeatedly, before Hai dragged her out of the flat
  • The maid resisted and her agent eventually arrived at the scene

SINGAPORE — A domestic worker refused to leave her employer's home, after several instances of alleged abuse at the hands of her employer’s wife.

The employer’s wife, Bai Yihong, then purportedly kicked the maid repeatedly and rained blows on her, shouting at her to leave the house as she lay on the ground crying and writhing.

Bai’s mother Hai Yulan joined in the fracas, pulling the maid’s arm and grabbing her shoulders in order to drag her out of the house.

Hai, 57, who hails from China, was fined S$3,000 on Friday (Dec 10) after pleading guilty to using criminal force on the maid last year. She was on a short-term visit pass in Singapore at the time.

Bai, also a China national aged 34, has been charged with several counts of assaulting the maid. Her case is still pending.

While there is no gag order banning the identity of the 31-year-old maid from Myanmar, court documents redacted her name.

HOW IT BEGAN

The court heard that Bai — who worked as a tuition teacher with Berries World of Learning School — was married to Mr Chua Bee Seng. He died from a sudden heart attack in October this year.

Bai lived in a flat on the second floor of a Housing and Development Board (HDB) block in Hougang, along with the maid and her infant son.

Mr Chua owned the unit but would stay in another unit on the fourth floor where his parents and sister lived. He would visit Bai on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The maid began working for the couple in November 2019, before Bai gave birth to her child the following month. The maid would try to communicate with them in Mandarin but she was not fluent in it, which meant she could not understand Bai at times.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh told the court that during the maid’s employment, she was unhappy as Bai had purportedly hit her on various occasions.

On Nov 5 last year, the maid developed a stomach ache and went to see a doctor. Concerned that her infant son might catch an illness from her, Bai told the maid to stay at the fourth-floor unit for a day.

The next day, Bai and her husband went to get the maid to return to the second-floor unit, but she sat on the floor of the living room and refused to move, saying she did not want to work for Bai any longer.

The incident was partially captured by closed-circuit television cameras in the living room.

THREATENED TO ACCUSE MAID OF STEALING

Bai started to rebuke the maid, accusing her of stealing items from the flat, and told her to call the police if she claimed Bai had hit her.

The maid began crying. Bai then threatened to tell her agent about the alleged theft if she did not comply, which meant the maid would have to return to Myanmar and not be able to work in Singapore.

The maid refused, saying she would like to call the agent herself, but Bai then repeatedly shouted at her to pack her things and leave the home.

Bai also tried to pull the maid by the arm in order to drag her out.

Hai then joined her daughter in pulling the maid’s other arm, but she resisted. When they got to the door, Hai also grabbed the maid’s shoulders.

Bai then allegedly kicked the maid and started hitting her, while Hai continued to grab the maid’s right arm and hair to try to pull her out.

At one point, the maid fell against a wheelchair and her lips started bleeding.

The agent eventually arrived at the unit and the maid lodged a police report that same day.

She went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where she was found to have facial bruises, muscle strain of the back and a lip laceration.

After the incident, she stated that she experienced heart palpitations when she heard sudden noises — something she did not previously go through, DPP Poh said.

NOT A VIOLENT PERSON: LAWYER

The prosecutor asked for the fine imposed, while Hai’s lawyer Kevin Liew said that she had tried to mediate the situation and protect the maid, as well as calm her daughter down.

She was not a violent person and was “truly caught up in the heat of the moment” while “clouded by her emotions”, Mr Liew said.

The defence counsel noted that she had cooperated with the authorities and recently lost her son-in-law, Mr Chua.

Hai must serve two weeks’ jail if she cannot pay the fine.

Those who use criminal force on domestic workers can be fined up to S$3,000 or jailed up to six months, or punished with both.

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