Singapore couple 'enslaved' intellectually disabled waitress, abused her to her death

Singapore couple 'enslaved' intellectually disabled waitress, abused her to her death

A Singapore couple abused waitress who was intellectually disabled. She was beaten daily for 8 months, leading to her death by fat embolism.

Some people are just horrible. I do not know what goes wrong with them that turns them into such monsters. On Monday, the court found two such people - Tan Hui Zhen and her husband Pua Hak Chuan, responsible for the death of Annie Ee Yu Lian. The 26-year-old waitress was found dead on April 13, 2015. Annie was a long time friend of Tan, or so she thought. Tan, 33, gave Annie a place to stay, welcoming her to her flat in Woodlands. Little did Annie know what was in store for her. 

The Singapore Couple abused waitress

Annie was intellectually disabled, and this fact was exploited by Tan. When Annie came to stay with the couple, she agreed to pay a rent of S$500 and do some light chores. But in a few weeks, she was working like a maid, doing every household chore, and in addition, paying the rent. But this was not all. She also was made to feel like she was in debt to them.

She had to hand over her entire pay of S$1200 to them and they gave her an allowance of S$50 a week, later reduced to S$ 30 a week. She was called dumb and 'pig bran' by Tan, whom Annie called and considered 'Jie Jie' an elder sister. Annie was slapped for misbehaving or just angering Tan. 

In a literal sense, they were her 'masters'.

Poor Annie

According to reports, this abuse continued for 8 months. Annie received a daily beating from Tan for no apparent reasons. Tan used to slap her with her hands and then used a slipper when her palm would start to hurt. Then, Pua would take over, on the instructions of his wife.

They graduated to using a bamboo stick, and when it broke, used a heavy roll of shrink wrap - something Annie was terribly afraid of. She started showing bruises, and so, Tan made her quit and found her a job in another restaurant. The couple then took care to hurt her on her buttocks, so that the bruises were not visible.

The abuse continued and she developed blisters. But the beatings did not stop. The night before she died, Annie tried to slash her wrists but was stopped in time by the couple. Her reason was that she was not good enough in the eyes of Jie Jie. They had successfully destroyed an innocent person's will to live.

The final blow

Annie did not wake up after a night of beating. An autopsy revealed that she had 12 broken ribs, 7 fractured vertebrae, a ruptured stomach and a body covered with blisters and bruises. Tan and Pua were arrested. A psychiatric evaluation of Tan revealed that she suffered from multiple psychiatric illnesses, including depression and borderline personality disorder. The husband was mentally sound. Both have been sentenced to a long imprisonment, though Tan got her charges reduced from murder. 

There is no way in which justice can come upon Annie. However, the two behind bars is the next closest thing to it. May Annie's soul rest in peace. 

Also, read Left-behind children in China: These pictures reveal a sad truth

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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