This is a common offence in Singapore and usually carries a jail sentence.

Once a maid runs away after an incident, she would file a complaint at MOM or police, often with the help of a volunteer from a shelter. The police will attend at the employer’s residence for investigation. This will be followed up by statements taking, and lie detector test. As such charges carry very serious implications, it is wise to seek legal advice early.

The prosecution usually relies on one or more of the sections such as section 323, 324 or 325 Penal Code, read with the enhancement provision, namely section 73 Penal Code for maid abuse cases, depending on the nature of the hurt caused.

Even if the charges are under the EFMA (Employment of Foreign Manpower Act), you should take the matter lightly. A jail sentence of 3 months was met out for not giving the maid adequate rest, and another 3 mths for not giving the maid adequate food in the recent case of PP v Chia Yun Ling and Tay Wee Kiat [2019] SGMC 13.  Accused that have been convicted included teachers, businessmen, professionals and even a news reader. Call us early. In fact call us NOW.

In the recent case of Soh Meiyun v PP (2014), the Accused was given a fine as she was suffering from major depressive disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder which the IMH psychiatrist said had contributed to the offences. In the case of Chua Siew Peng (2017), the Accused’s sentence was enhanced upon Appeal. The Accused was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, but the crucial point was there was no casual link between the schizophrenia and the commission of the offence.

Some examples of maid abuse

  • Hitting head
  • Using furniture to injure maid
  •  Slapping maid
  • Twisting maid’s arms, pulling hair
  • Using weapon such as cutter, broom, chair etc.
  • Uttering vulgarities

No defense to say maid is lazy or had abused children or had stolen monies

It is trite law that such excuses do not justify the commission of offences of abusing the maid. The Court in some cases declined to approve a composition on the ground that there is an issue of public interest involved. In those cases the prosecution had objected to a composition, although the maid herself was agreeable to accept the monies offered.

It is always in the Accused’s interest to engage a counsel early, as the case may proceed for hearing within a few months or even a few weeks (where foreign witnesses are involved) as the case may be. Early and adequate preparation are absolutely necessary as life and liberty are at stake.


How Criminal Law SG can help you?

WM Low and Partners has dealt with various clients in a wide variety of maid abuse criminal law cases over the years. Our experienced criminal lawyers have a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and will be able to provide valuable and appropriate advice for your criminal law case.


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