In shocking news, a maid was jailed after she tried to poison a 3-month-old baby by mixing detergent into the infant’s milk powder.
And all because she was jealous of another maid, and wanted to get her into trouble.
Jealous Singapore maid tried to poison baby
The maid in question started working for the baby’s uncle in 2015. The other maid worked for her boss’ sister-in-law.
The 29-year-old culprit was apparently jealous that the other maid only had to take care of the baby, while she was burdened with the more tedious household chores.
Sometimes, the two families would stay together in a house owned by the man’s parents, near Hougang Avenue 1.
The crime was committed on one such occasion, on 6 September 2018.
Overwhelmed by jealousy, she stealthily took a milk powder scoop from the kitchen cabinet, went to the master bedroom toilet, and filled the scoop up to three-quarters full with two types of detergent powder.
She then poured this into a tin of Karihome Goat Milk Infant Formula and mixed it in with the scoop.
Alert mother smells something fishy
The next day, the baby’s mother was preparing milk using the contaminated mixture, when she noticed some black and pink particles at the bottom of the milk bottle.
Puzzled, she tried making milk in another bottle, with the same powder. This time, she noticed, blue particles in the milk bottle.
She suspected that something was wrong, so she opened the milk powder tin, only to find it smell of detergent.
She didn’t want to take any risks, so she fed her baby breast milk instead. The family investigated the incident, and the mother even went back to the place she had bought the powder from.
On 8 September, the maid’s boss alerted police about the contaminated milk powder, and that he suspected his maid was at fault.
The tin of contaminated milk powder was later analysed by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), who confirmed that there was detergent in it.
Maid found guilty, jailed
On 20 September 2019, the maid was found guilty, and sentenced to 3 years’ jail.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou shared that when exposed to detergents, children below the age of six can experience effects such as vomiting, coughing, choking, irritation or pain in the eyes etc. It can also cause mild and moderate health issues such as diarrhoea, to severe ones such as caustic injury to the gastrointestinal tract.
District Judge Prem Raj pointed out that the case involved an innocent and helpless baby.
“The infant was at a tender age where her digestive system had yet to develop fully.”
“But for the fortuitous intervention by the mother, the offence would have in all likelihood be completed, and an innocent child … would have been harmed,” he stressed.
This case is especially disturbing because the maid was with her employer for more than 3 years, and everybody trusted her. There was also no evidence of abuse or ill-treatment by the maid’s employer or any of the family members.
How can we have a healthy and trustworthy relationship with our maids? Here are some tips:
Choose a reputable maid agency when hiring a maid
Check out the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s website for maid agencies. Choose agencies with no demerit points.
Filter using these parameters – Agency Experience (preferably > 5 years), FDW Placement Volume (> 200), FDW Retention success rate (>50) and FDW Transfer rate (0 – 10).
In case of a transfer maid, do not hesitate to contact the previous employer to better understand the the maid’s nature and the reason for transfer.
Don’t overload your maid
Many a time, the maid vents her frustrations and insists on returning home, because she’s too stressed out with work. Sit with your maid, and make sure she’s comfortable with the tasks at hand.
Discuss on a timetable that you can follow daily. Make sure that she is healthy, and has enough sleep and energy for all her tasks.
Lay out the rules
Right from the beginning, your maid should be aware of the house rules. Be specific about house rules, such as work that needs to be completed everyday, use of handphone etc.
Communication and training
Wherever possible, write down specific instructions to be followed, and put it up on the wall, or on the fridge.
You might even want to take some time off work to train your maid in the initial days, until she gets used to your home environment. Teach her how exactly to take care of your child or your elderly parents.
CCTV camera helps
If you really want eyes on the house when you are not around, get CCTV cameras installed in vulnerable areas.