Ex-Changi Prison Counsellor Jailed 7 Months for Slapping Domestic Helper Till She Had Temporary Hearing Loss

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You have to respect the majority of domestic workers.

How many of us could say that we’d take up that kind of job in a foreign land without high pay in order to make money or support a family whom are thousands of kilometres away from you?

Yet, we still read news on how these workers are often mistreated as if they aren’t human.

Ex-Changi Prison Counsellor Jailed 7 Months for Slapping Domestic Helper Till She Had Temporary Hearing Loss

And the law, thankfully, takes very serious action against those who would carry out such acts.

51-year-old Gayathri Iyer, an ex-Changi Prison counsellor, was convicted in February following a trial of two counts of abusing her maid, Myanmar national Thang Khaw Lam, 30.

The former was subsequently sentenced to seven months of jail today (14 Apr).

The Straits Times reported that she had allegedly slapped her maid with such force that she temporarily couldn’t hear.

This hearing loss lasted for at least a whole month; Ms Thang Khaw Lam has thankfully recovered from it.

For each count of assaulting a maid, Gayathri could have got three years of jail and fined up to S$7,500.

But what need would there be for someone to assault another so violently?

Multiple Incidents

The ear slapping was just one of several incidents, unfortunately.

Ms Thang Khaw Lam started working for Gayathri’s family in June 2017.

On 27 October 2017, Gayathri hit the maid’s shoulder after she used the word “mah” when talking to her.

Ms Thang Khaw Lam then used her phone to take photos of the bruises, which were located at the top of her shoulder slightly extending to her back.

Another case occurred on 7 December 2017, when Gayathri slapped her for not waking up her son who was serving national service at the time.

The incident happened at around 5:40am when the domestic worker was doing the laundry.


The maid was slapped twice on her left ear and once on her right.

This caused her to be unable to hear through her left ear for the whole day.

Reporting The Abuse

Ms Thang Khaw Lam decided to take action after that.

About five days after the incident, she ran from the house and told the police about her ordeal.

She recovered from her injuries by 5 September the following year.

However, the district judge said that some of the domestic worker’s evidence wasn’t convincing.

So you go to social media and it appears that everyone is agreeing with your views. Watch this video to the end and you’d realise that there’s a disturbing reason behind this:

This meant Gayathri was found not guilty of two other assault charges involving the maid.

Today (14 Apr), Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Ee Kuan urged to jail Gayathri at Changi Prison for nine months, citing an oppressive relationship between the maid and employer.

However, Gayathri’s lawyer asked the court for a sentence of nine weeks, saying she used to be a counsellor at Changi Prison and had pledged to donate all of her organs despite being a Hindu.


The district judge also said the prosecution did not have concrete proof of the abuse cycle.

He was also unable to find that the victim had suffered psychological harm.

Gayathri was asked to make compensation of about S$5,330 to the maid. She is also appealing against the sentence.

Currently, she is on bail for S$15,000.

Feature Image: Doidam 10 / Shutterstock.com

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