Filipina domestic worker Thelma Oyasan Gawidan is making headlines after a court charged her employers, Singaporean couple Lim Choon Hong and wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, of jail time for starving the Filipina worker.
Lim Choon Hong will be serving jail time for 3 weeks while his wife Chong Sui Foon will be jailed for 3 months. Both will also pay a fine of 10,000SGD. The prosecutors of the case will still appeal for a harsher 12-months jail period for each person after starving the OFW for 15 months.
Gawidan was only given a few slices of bread and instant noodles to eat twice a day for a year, making her lose 20kgs while serving the Lim family. She pleaded for additional food but the request was not granted. Gawidan had nowhere to run to as both suspects took her mobile phone and passport. Gawidan was able to escape this brutal nightmare in April of 2014 where she phoned a friend and was taken to Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME). She only weighed 29kg while under their care.
The couple pleaded guilty to the charges during the trial in December 2015. The wife, Chong, claimed that her eating disorder as a teen and OCD as an adult has caused this ordeal but District Judge Low Wee Ping thinks otherwise. According to three psychiatrists involved in the case, Chong’s claim on her OCD was not linked to her behavior towards the Filipina worker, but instead “stemmed from and reflected a selective and discriminatory perception and treatment of the victim”. Chong even force-fed her 4 children and husband while Gawidan was starving.
Gawidan was paid 20,000SGD as part of a settlement in order to stop the legal proceedings. Prosecutors accused the couple of using this payment “as a tool to get a lower stance” since the offer was made after the judge had considered sentencing both to jail time.
(Source: Channel News Asia)