Domestic worker lost 20kgs after being starved for 15 months

A Singaporean couple is on trial for allegedly starving their Filipina domestic worker while employed under the two.

Ms Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, 40, had worked for the couple for almost 1.5 years before she escaped from the condominium. She lost 20kgs from her intital weight of 49kg in January 2013 to 29kg. when she escaped from the condominium she worked in and sought refuge at HOME, a non-profit organisation (NGO) in April 2014.

HOME then reported Ms Thelma’s conditions to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), who directed the NGO to send Ms Thelma for a medical check up with a general practitioner (GP) and later at the hospital.

Ms Christina Quek, the investigation officer in charge of the case told the court that Chong only allowed Ms Thelma to shower once or twice a week at the condominium’s public toilet and how she was given two meals a day, with each ration consisting of instant noodles and a slice of bread.

Ms Quek also shared that although Lim footed the GP’s bill, he refused to pay for Ms Thelma’s hospital bill as he said she “is not sick”.

Dr Lim Huiyu, senior resident at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s department of gastroenterology and hepatology who examined Ms Thelma in April this year, testified in court today that she suffered “significant weight loss due to insufficient intake of food”.  The doctor added that Ms Thelma was so malnourished that she did not have her period for a year.

Ms Thelma weighed merely 43kgs at a review conducted in June, two months after her escape in April. She was later allowed to be re-hired as a domestic worker under a new employer after months being taken care by HOME.

It is reported that Lim Choon Hong and wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, face one charge each under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

If found guilty, the couple could be jailed up to 12 months and/or fined up to S$10,000.

Adapted from new sources


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