On 14 January 2020, a foreign domestic helper placed her employers’ 16-month-old baby’s hand into a pot of hot water while she was cooking.
The incident resulted in the baby to suffer from second-degree burns on her left hand.
In the court proceedings which occurred today (28 October 2020), the foreign domestic helper, Ms Lin Lin Htwe, is sentenced to 14 months’ jail after pleading guilty to one count of using a heated substance to voluntarily cause hurt.
Feeling remorse about the incident, the helper wrote an apology letter which was read out in court.
The helper apologised in the letter, stating that she did not intend to harm or hurt the toddler she was looking after for over a month.
However, the mistake was made due to pressure. The helper would like to apologise to the parents and hopes that one day her employers will forgive her.
So, what happened?
Foreign Domestic Helper Wanted to Work Elsewhere Two Weeks into Her Job
The 30-year-old Myanmar national started working for her employers on 8 December 2019.
Aside from cooking for the family, she was also tasked to take care of the family’s 8-year-old daughter and 16 month-old baby.
She had worked for seven days a week with no days off.
Two weeks into her job, Ms Lin decided that she wanted to work elsewhere.
She doesn’t know how to care for the baby.
So, she approached her agency to ask for the transfer. But after learning that the transfer would require her to pay a fee, Ms Lin stayed on.
Helper Felt Agitated and Placed Baby’s Left Hand in Hot Water
While the helper was cooking chicken curry on 14 January 2020, the baby started crying.
Only the baby’s 8-year-old sister was at home together with them at that point in time.
The helper then carried the baby and continued cooking.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor, the helper then felt agitated and moved the baby’s left hand towards the pot containing hot water. This resulted in the baby’s left hand to come into contact with the pot and hot water two to three times.
The baby started screaming when her hand came into contact with the hot water.
The incident was captured by the closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the flat.
Upon hearing the younger sister’s cries, her 8-year-old elder sister then went into the kitchen.
Ms Lin claimed that the baby had placed her hand into the pot herself.
The 8-year-old then proceeded to call her father, who advised her to apply aloe vera and toothpaste on her sister’s wounds.
While aloe vera does help, it should be noted that applying toothpaste on a burn wound isn’t advisable and that it’ll seal the heat in the skin instead.
After reaching home at around 6.40pm, the baby’s father brought her to a clinic after seeing the extent of her injuries.
The baby was then transferred to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with having second-degree burns on her left hand.
The baby will have a burn scar which may still be visible after two years. Her fingers or forearm are unlikely to have impairments.
The baby fully recovered from her injuries on 24 January.
Denied Placing Baby’s Hand into Hot Water
When the baby’s parents first questioned Ms Lin about the incident, she claimed that the baby had accidentally touched the pot.
The next day, on 15 January, when Ms Lin mentioned that she would like to stop working for the family, the couple grew suspicious.
They then proceeded to view the CCTV footage and saw that Ms Lin had placed the baby’s hand into the pot of hot water.
Ms Lin then confessed to the couple that she had intentionally caused harm to the baby when the pair confronted her with the footage.
A police report was lodged thereafter.
Offenders convicted of causing hurt with a heated substance can be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned. The helper cannot be caned as she is a woman.
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