SINGAPORE–A Philippine maid has accused a Singaporean couple of starving her for 15 months until her weight dropped to 29 kilograms (64 pounds), Singapore media reported Tuesday. Thelma Gawidan, 40, who escaped in April 2014 to a shelter for migrant workers, told a trial court on Monday that she was only fed instant noodles and bread twice a day in a condominium at the posh Orchard Road area. Gawidan testified again on Tuesday and said the couple withheld her salary, watched her every move and and did not let her speak to anyone outside, the Straits Times newspaper’s website reported. “They’re watching me when I wake up, what I eat, what I drink and when to take a shower,” she was quoted as saying. After a few months of employment, Gawidan was disallowed to use the toilet in the family home and accompanied by her female employer to a washroom next to the condominium’s swimming pool whenever she needed to relieve herself, the court was told. On a family trip to Hong Kong, she was also fed instant noodles and bread.
On April 18 last year, Gawidan managed to escape to a nearby shopping center and called a fellow countrywoman who fed her before taking her to a shelter. Gawidan, a mother of three, has since regained weight. If convicted, trader Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, face a fine of up to SG$10,000 (US$7,100), imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both, for failing to provide the maid with adequate food.