Helper held after urine-laced drink claim

Local | Jane Cheung 22 May 2019

An Indonesian domestic worker was yesterday arrested for allegedly adding urine to her female employer's drinking water after being asked to fetch her a glass in the middle of the night.

The 37-year-old woman was arrested after being suspected of administering poison with intent to injure after her 31-year-old employer made a report to the police at around 1am.

The employer, surnamed Chan, smelled an odd odor when drinking the water at her home at Tin Yau Court in Tin Shui Wai.

She subsequently developed a stomachache, and was sent to the hospital.

During the police investigation, the domestic worker admitted to adding urine to the water.

According to the Offences Against the Person Ordinance, anyone who administers poison or harmful substances to another person with the malice intent to harm, mentally injure or provoke the person may face a maximum penalty of three years in prison upon conviction.

Edmond Lam Wing-wo, a family physician, said Chan might have felt ill as she knew there was urine in her water, which caused her to become nauseated or even suffer from a stomachache and diarrhea.

Lam said the biggest component of urine is water, which would have become further diluted when being added to the glass of water, so there wouldn't have been much bacteria in it.

"But if the urine was concentrated, or been added to the water for one to two days, it might have given bacteria more time to multiply, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, which would lead to Gastroenteritis," he said.

Lam said if the helper had hepatitis, it is possible for Chan to catch the infection, especially if she drank the urine shortly after it was passed from the domestic worker's system. "But hepatitis is mainly transmitted through the contact of blood, so it's not likely for her to contract the virus by merely drinking diluted urine," he said.

Surprisingly, it is not uncommon for domestic helpers to add urine to their employers' drinks.

In May last year, a 24-year-old Indonesian domestic helper was arrested for allegedly adding urine to her employer's water at their home in Tuen Mun in revenge for her boss scolding her over poor performance.

In June 2013, a 22-year-old Indonesian helper was sentenced to two months in jail for adding urine and dirty water from the laundry into her employer's tea in Tseung Kwan O.

In July 2010, a 26-year-old helper fed her employers' four-year-old son her urine from the toilet bowl and was sentenced to nine months in jail.

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