Singapore: An Indian-origin former army Warrant Officer was sentenced to four months and three weeks in jail on Monday for abusing and beating her Indian maid.

K. Rajakumari, 57, repeatedly abused her maid in 2012, and once, even hit the latter with a plastic hanger until it broke. Rajakumari, who retired after 35 years of service, apologised to Indian national Sargunam Jeeva in Tamil and told her not to tell anyone about her ordeal.

But a police officer attending the case understood the language and Rajakumari was caught, the Strait Times reported.

After a 14-day trial, District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid convicted Rajakumari on September 5 on five counts of causing hurt to Jeeva, then 35, in a Canberra Drive condominium near Sembawang Road between February and March 2012.

Jeeva first came to Singapore in late January 2012. Rajakumari had picked the maid up and she was to be paid 350 Singapore dollars a month without any days off. She could not speak English.

By the second week of February 2012, Jeeva was regularly scolded with caustic remarks by her employer. The abuse soon became physical.

On March 3, 2012, after Jeeva ironed Rajakumari's uniform, the employer threw it onto a dresser and chided the maid for not knowing how to do a proper job of ironing. Rajakumari then hit Jeeva with a plastic hanger until it broke.

Two days later, Jeeva was scolded and slapped hard on the face over stale food. She was pulled by her hair and was pushed against window grills. Jeeva was also kicked in the waist by her employer, the report said.

Jeeva told Rajakumari that she could not "withstand the torture any more" and requested to send her back to the agent's house.

The maid later sought help in a neighbouring home and the latter called the police.

A policeman later heard Rajakumari tell Jeeva in Tamil: "Please forgive me... please don't tell anyone about the abuse."

Unknown to Rajakumari, the police officer could understand the language. Rajakumari later admitted that she had hit the maid.

For each count of maid abuse, Rajakumari could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to 7,500 Singapore dollars.