Beaten black and blue: HK unveils another case of domestic helper abuse

Friday, June 11, 2021

Hong Kong has seen another case of domestic helper abuse, involving a 37-year-old Filipino who was suspected to have been beaten by her employer, leaving bruises all over her body.

The spokeswoman of the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB), Dolores Balladares Pelaez, said today that they have received a request for help from the 37-year-old earlier, who claimed that she was tortured repeatedly by her employer during her 14-month contract.

The helper, Eden, told the group that she was physically abused by her female employer, including getting slapped in the face, scratched and kicked on her chest, back and leg, and even took a beating with a frying pan.

Dolores said Eden had once got slapped in the face over 10 times in a row.

The group heard that Eden often took a beating every time the toddler in her care cried or failed to finish the meal.

“Eden was also forbidden to go out on her rest day throughout the year with the employer citing the coronavirus, only allowing her to rest for two hours every rest days at the employer’s study room, which is also her place to sleep at night,” said Dolores.

According to the group, Eden had been abused for over a year but had not reached out for help fearing that she would lose her job. She was unable to tell her friends about the issue either given she was not allowed to leave home.

It was only on May 30, that Eden took the chance to flee, filing a report at a police station.

It was understood that the female employer is a secondary school teacher in the territory. She was detained for a few hours for investigation and had been released on bail.

Dolores said Hong Kong authorities and the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong are now looking into the incident.

“Eden’s employer should be barred from leaving Hong Kong in case she evade the responsibility for any possible crimes she may have committed. The government should also ban her from hiring any domestic helpers in the future to prevent such tragedy from happening again,” stressed Dolores.

Hong Kong has previously seen another case of domestic helper abuse a few years ago, with the employer sentenced to jail.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih suffered eight months of abuse between 2013 and 2014 and returned to Indonesia in a critical condition with cuts and burn marks on her skin.

The case made international headlines after details of her horrific treatment emerged and cast a spotlight on the treatment of domestic helpers in Hong Kong, where more than 300,000 reside.

Her ex-boss, Law Wan-tung, was jailed for six years in 2015, after being convicted on 18 assault and labor-related charges for her treatment of Erwiana and another Indonesian maid she employed.