HIGHLIGHT: Singaporean couple, Lim Choon Hong and Chong Sui Foon, pleaded guilty on charges filed against each of them after former Filipina maid filed suit.
Employers of Filipina maid Thelma Gawidan pleaded guilty of violating Singapore's Employment of Foreign Manpower Act before a district court on Wednesday, March 23.
The 40-year-old Gawidan escaped from her Orchard Road employers in 2014, reportedly because of severe maltreatment she suffered from the Singaporean couple, Lim Choon Hong and Chong Sui Foon, both 47 years old.
With the help of a migrant worker shelter, the domestic helper filed charges for allegedly being starved until her body weight was only 29 kg.
In a CNA report (couple on trial), the Filipina recalled begging to her lady employer, "I pleaded with her when she was in the bathroom with me: 'Look at my body, I am skin and bones already.'"
She said she had to endure starvation for 15 months because she was not allowed to talk to anybody, including the employment agency and her family.
In court last December, Lim asserted that he and his wife also only eats two meals, sometimes even just one meal, a day. He said his wife's history of anorexia nervosa when she was a teen and her current Obsessive Compulsive Disorder make them very picky when it comes to food, and perhaps, excessively clean. (Lim's statements)
Lim tells the court, “Our lifestyle revolves around food and cleanliness."
Snacks are not allowed in the couple's household due to crumbs.
"Cooking is also prohibited because that would "dirty the kitchen ... (and Chong will) clean it obsessively."
CNA also reported that Lim has belied claims of Gawidan that she was restricted to talk to anybody or use mobile her phone.
The case is set for another hearing on April 20, after the psychiatric assessments undertaken by the couple are done. If convicted, damages fee would be SGD10,000 or around PhP300,000 and/or jail time of one year.