Sunday, November 29, 2015   

Third maid claims abuse

Qi Luo

Monday, January 20, 2014

A second domestic helper has told police that the employer accused of torturing an Indonesian maid for eight months had earlier told her to kill herself.

And a third maid, now working in Singapore, says she too was abused by the same employer but police did not pursue the case when she was accused of stealing.

The new claims came as 2,000 domestic helpers took to the streets yesterday.

The second alleged victim, identified as Susi, told police yesterday that she was beaten several times between April 2010 and March 2011 at the Tai Kok Tsui flat of her former employer.

She also claimed the employer paid her only about HK$5,000 for about 11 months' work. The police confirmed they received a report of wounding from a foreign woman, aged 31. It will be investigated in conjunction with a report received on January 12 concerning the alleged abuse of Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

Erwiana's father, who is taking care of her in a hospital on Java, thanked Hong Kong people for their concern and said he hopes justice will prevail.

A group of Indonesians fighting on behalf of workers' rights said they are selecting a lawyer to help Erwiana when she testifies in court.

Sringatin, the spokeswoman for a group called Justice for Erwiana and the All Migrant Domestic Workers Committee, said the third maid Tina - who is now in Singapore - contacted them to say she worked for the employer in 2011 and "escaped" after three months.

Sringatin said Tina is willing to
be a witness should Erwiana's case go to trial.

Eni Lestari, a coordinator for the Asian Migrant Coordinating Body, said it had confirmed Tina's stay in Hong Kong after seeing the employer's name on her old visa.

Tina claimed she ran away after the female employer threatened her with a knife because she could not wake up for work.

After the children headed for school, Tina left the flat and got hold of an Indonesian friend to help her call the police. She said the police did not pursue the case because the employer accused her of stealing as she did not leave the key when she left.

Labour secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said two officers from his bureau will join four police officers leaving for Indonesia today to interview Erwiana.

Cheung said if the maid's recruitment agency and the employer involved are found to have breached any regulation, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law. "Our objective is to collect testimony and gain an understanding of her situation," Cheung said, adding that it is understood the maid's wages had not been fully paid.

Cheung said the government may ask the maid to return to Hong Kong to testify in court after she recovers.

The protesters marched from Wan Chai to the central government offices, stopping on the way at police headquarters.

"Prosecute the employer," "Punish the agency," "Justice for Erwiana, justice for domestic workers," they chanted.

They submitted a letter to the police, demanding a thorough investigation into the alleged abuse of Erwiana.

Another letter called on the government to change the policy that makes domestic helpers vulnerable to employers, including compulsory live- ins.

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