A Change.org petition created to seek heavier punishment on the couple who allegedly tortured an intellectually disabled waitress to death has received over 18,000 signatures within just two days.
The petition was created by Ms Neo Chuan Yi to seek justice for the unfortunate victim, Ms Annie Ee Yu Lian as the public prosecution is only seeking 14-15 years of jail for the accused couple who allegedly tortured her to death in April 2015 at the age of 26 years old.
The couple was initially charged with murder but was given reduced charge by the prosecutors for pleading guilty. The female accused, Tan Hui Zhen, 33 is looking at 15 years of jail term while the male accused, Pua Hak Chua, 38, husband of Ms Tan is looking at 14 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
As revealed through the hearing of the case, Ms Annie Ee Yu Lian, who became estranged from her family, had moved into Tan and Pua's flat in late 2013 and was tasked to do the housework.
Though she was not asked to pay for the stay at first, the couple eventually started collecting $150 a month from Ms Ee and which was then gradually increased to $550.
Tan started assaulting Ms Ee in August 2014 after she blamed the victim for a bedbug infestation by slapping and whipping her, trying to strangle her, banging her head against a wall, and kicking and steping on her. While, Pua was the "standby slapper" who occasionally took over when Tan became tired.
Tan also psychologically abused the victim by undermining her sense of self-worth and questioning her daily, telling the victim she had a "pig brain"
The couple also started recording "debts" that they claimed the victim owed them, which included "compensation" for making Tan angry and to repay the them, Tan made her surrender her monthly salary of $1,200, from which she was given a weekly allowance of $50, which was later cut to $30.
The assault then continued for eight months.
In March 2015, they started using a 1kg roll of shrink wrap to assault the victim, targeting her buttocks, where her injuries would be inconspicuous.
The beatings left blisters on Ms Annie Ee Yu Lian's buttocks, one about 8cm in diameter. The injuries were so serious that the couple used sanitary pads to dry the wounds and bandage them.
They have been using the shrinkwrap to assault Ms Ee as they realised the "tool" frightened her and they consistently torture her daily. with the beating sessions going on for as long as two hours.
However, a week before the fatal beating, they noticed that she was becoming weak and was panting for breath. Therefore, Pua suggested they stop hitting her to allow her to recover before "starting anew". However, Tan continued to Tan hit Ms Ee to punish her for breaking the rules just a few days after.
Ms Ee suffered her final beating on 12 April 2015. At that time, she hurt herself by cutting her wrist with a pair of scissors. However, Tan took the tool away.
The couple then went out. Upon returning, the couple, saw her lying in her own urine. Tan then mopped up the mess, while Ms Ee changed into a clean top but did not put on any shorts as her buttocks were too swollen and painful.
They then went out to buy her some food. However, when they returned, they saw that Ms Ee laying in her own urine again. Angered, they accused her of urinating on the floor to get attention and tortured her.
The couple then repeatedly beat her with the shrink wrap, smashed a plastic dustbin on her down on her with such force that the plastic cracked, and left her on her mattress groaning.
The next morning, she was lifeless when they checked on her.
Tan then called her own brother to say Ms Ee had committed suicide, and eventually called the police.
When the officers arrived, Tan said the victim was a clumsy person who would often injure herself, as well as claiming that Ms Ee often jumped up and landed on her buttocks for no apparent reason.
However, Tan, now 33, and Pua, now 38, then pleaded guilty to various charges for the extensive torture of Ms Ee, in their four-room flat in Woodlands on Monday (27 November).
Tan pleaded guilty to two counts each of causing grievous hurt and causing grievous hurt with a weapon, while Pua pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt and two counts of causing grievous hurt with a weapon.
In the petition, Ms Neo wrote, "Not only did they tortured the poor girl to death, they tried to cover their tracks when they found the poor girl dead. If the sentence is passed, they will only be in their 50s when released from jail."
"How can we let such beasts roam free and potentially targeting another victim of weaker mental capacity?" she asked.
The petition is said to be delivered to the Attorney-General's Chambers and to be cc to Minister of Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam, Deputy Senior State Counsel, Ms April Phang Suet Fern and State Counsel, Ms Claire Poh Hui Jing.
One of the supporters of the petition, Jason Cheok wrote,
"I signed this petition because I cannot even look at these two things and feel a shred of empathy or understanding. They had systematically and methodically, in full awareness of their actions, committed harm of such an appalling nature that it could be comparable to what Holocaust victims went through. This is not an attack on an intellectually disabled individual; this was a violation of innocence and trust. It is clear that these two monsters used this opportunity to shred an individual away in order to feel the least bit competent in a world that has no need of their barbarism and archaism. Should they be allowed to roam free, who else would they target? A handicapped child, plucked off the road? A desperate maid, looking for shelter? A foreigner, unable to fend for themselves? A senior citizen, lost and searching for home? Keep them locked away, and make our nation just a little bit safer from these demons wearing human skin."
While another, Nur Hidayu Mohamed Yatim wrote,
"This couple are inhumane beasts who do not have any humanity nor empathy towards special people. Scared of wife and suffering from miscarriages are not excuses to torture another human being every day to death. To be sentenced to 14 and 15yrs of jail is somewhat too light for what they have done. Imagine how the victim must have felt everyday esp in her final moments. Very very sad and heartwrenching. Imagine the victim as your own daughter, sister or a family member."