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Woman tried to delete CCTV footage, gets more than 8 months' jail for repeatedly abusing maid

SINGAPORE — After physically assaulting her domestic worker over several months, Bai Yihong saw red when the victim refused to return to their flat.

Woman tried to delete CCTV footage, gets more than 8 months' jail for repeatedly abusing maid
A domestic worker refused to return to Bai Yihong's flat after she physically abused her several times.
  • Bai Yihong began assaulting her domestic worker the day after she began working for the household
  • This escalated when Bai gave birth to her son
  • In November 2020, the worker refused to return to the flat out of trauma from the sustained abuse
  • Bai kicked and rained blows on her, causing her to bleed

SINGAPORE — After physically assaulting her domestic worker over several months, Bai Yihong saw red when the victim refused to return to their flat.

Bai threatened to file a false police report against the worker for stealing items, challenged her to call the police herself, and tried to drag her out of the home.

The China national also told her husband to lie to the worker's agent and delete closed-circuit television footage of the assault, but he later gave all the relevant footage to the authorities.

The video clips were not played in open court because Bai was “dressed skimpily” in them, the prosecution told the court.

On Wednesday (May 25), Bai, now aged 34, was jailed for eight months and six weeks for the offences committed from 2019 to 2020. Her sentence was backdated to March 4 when she was remanded.

She pleaded guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt to the 31-year-old worker from Myanmar. There is no court order banning the publication of the worker's identity but her name was not disclosed in court documents.

Bai’s mother, Hai Yulan, 57, was also fined S$3,000 last year for helping to drag the domestic worker out of the house. Hai was on a short-term visit pass in Singapore at the time.

ABUSE STARTED ON SECOND DAY OF WORK

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

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

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

The victim began working for the couple in November 2019, a month before Bai gave birth to her son.

The day after she started work for the family, Bai asked her in Mandarin to take a pear from the fridge.

Although the worker spoke some Mandarin, she was not fluent in it and did not understand what Bai was asking her to do. 

Bai then jabbed the victim's head and punched her on her shoulders multiple times.

The following month, after Bai gave birth to her son, the worker failed to use baby detergent to wash the infant’s blanket. Bai dragged her by the shirt to a closet where the detergent was stored, struck her shoulders several times and jabbed her forehead once more.

Bai then asked the worker in Mandarin whether she had a brain. The worker's bra strap broke from being dragged over to the closet.

Around May to June 2020, Bai punched the worker several times over matters related to how the worker was doing laundry.

When the victim said that she wanted to stop working for Bai's family, Bai told her to pack her bags and pushed her into a storeroom. The worker hit her head against the wall as she was being shoved.  

On Oct 27 that same year, she dropped a container of water onto the ground. When Bai questioned her, she denied doing so out of fear, which led Bai to slap her.

Bai also told the worker that the floor was “filled with pesticide” and that her infant son might consume pesticide if the container made contact with the ground, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh told the court.

DRAGGED OUT OF FLAT

Bai’s acts culminated in a final assault on Nov 6, 2020.

The worker had a stomachache and went to see a doctor. Bai told her to stay on the fourth-floor flat instead because she was concerned that her son might catch an illness from her. 

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

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

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

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

The worker refused, saying that she wanted to call the agent herself, but Bai then repeatedly shouted at her to pack her things and leave the home. Bai and her mother tried to shove the victim out and started hitting and kicking her.

Chua tried to stop his wife as the worker lay on the ground crying and writhing for some time. Her lips were bleeding at this point from Bai’s kicks and blows.

Bai sat next to her and told her to “think about her children”. She also told Chua to lie to the agent about the injuries. 

She repeatedly asked her husband to call his sisters to delete the CCTV recordings of the incident, which he pretended to do. The agent arrived shortly after and took the victim to the hospital.

DPP Poh told the court that the victim is now fearful of loud noises, cries whenever she recalls the incident, and has a scar on her lower lip that she sees as a disfigurement.

The prosecutor, who pressed for the sentence that was eventually imposed, said that she took into account the fact that Bai has voluntarily compensated the worker with S$5,580. This was for her salary and injuries.

Bai’s lawyer Kevin Liew said that Bai's judgement was impaired by mental conditions — a major depressive episode and bipolar disorder. She had also shown “utmost contrition” and shaved her hair, while remanded, as a reminder to start anew, the defence counsel added.

Related topics

court crime maid abuse assault foreign domestic worker

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