Hong Kong Employer May Have Tortured Second Indonesian Maid

Police investigation and public protests under way

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Philippe Lopez / AFP / Getty Images

A protester answers questions from the media as maids and rights activists protest over allegations of an Indonesian maid being abused in Hong Kong on Jan. 16, 2014

A second Indonesian domestic worker has claimed that she was abused by the same Hong Kong employer that allegedly tortured Erwiana Sulistyaningsih over the past eight months.

During a protest outside the offices of Erwiana’s former employment agency on Thursday, the 28-year-old, who prefers to only go by her nickname “Bunga,” told the South China Morning Post that she suffered 10 months of beatings by the same woman.

“One time the employer got so angry she dragged me onto the balcony and threatened to throw me off of it. She made me beg for my life,” she said.

The employer, a woman in her 40s with two teenage children and a husband who is mostly absent, never allowed Bunga to leave the apartment. She allegedly threatened to kill both Bunga and Erwiana if they talked about the beatings. When Bunga’s Hong Kong employment agency became aware of her ordeal they arranged for another employer, but persuaded her not to report the case to the police.

“I’m speaking out now because I feel so sad I didn’t do anything to try to prevent the employer from hurting Erwiana,” she said.

(MORE: Beaten and Exploited, Indonesian Maids Are Hong Kong’s ‘Modern-Day Slaves’)

According to information gathered by the Justice for Erwiana campaign committee, which arranged the Thursday protest and is composed of various migrant groups and advocates, Erwiana tried to run away from her employer the week after her first month of employment. She complained to the staff at her employment agency that she was not paid, only given bread and one serving of rice per day, one bottle of boiled water, four hours of sleep and no days off.

“But instead of helping her, the agency staff took her back to the employer, saying that she cannot leave yet without completing her payment to the agency,” said the committee’s spokeswoman Sringatin in a statement.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Eni Lestari, chairwoman of International Migrants Alliance, said Erwiana’s beatings had begun when undernourishment drove her to steal cookies.

“She was tortured five times a day. When she developed a skin allergy her employer would beat those areas on purpose. When the wounds got infected her employer wrapped them tightly with cloth to hide the stink, making the infections worse.”

Hong Kong police have launched an investigation into Erwiana’s case, and made visits to the employer’s home. They have also asked Bunga to file a report on her alleged abuse from 2010.

The Justice for Erwiana campaign has planned for another demonstration outside the central-government offices on Sunday.

[SCMP]

28 comments
Nurilma
Nurilma

Mostly Hong kong employers are like that. And the agency are the same . They treat us just like the horse .at 12 in the midle night still ask the helper to keep on working.

dr1056
dr1056

To all domestic workers whether you're Indonesian, Fillipino and regardless of your race, if you ever do face such domestic violence report this to your agency and file this report to the Hong Kong police department anonymously or not, you do not have to suffer such ignorant behavior and I'm sure their is another better employer out their that will treat you better.                                 Maids are not slaves, they are hard working, honest, respectful and reliable people who should as standard make a living.

RebeccaFerry
RebeccaFerry

this barbaric employer needs to pay her maid a considerable amount of money for disfiguring and torturing her physically and mentally and put in jail!!!

Sarah Riegle Lemelin
Sarah Riegle Lemelin

I sincerely hope the employer is arrested and tried soon. She's a monster, but so is the system that allows her to get away with such behavior.

Tarita Maraea
Tarita Maraea

That abusive employer gives Hong Kong Chinese a bad name - but they're not ALL like that.

Andre Manurung
Andre Manurung

May she(employer) got the same justice of what she's done to these powerless women.

Raymond H W Chan
Raymond H W Chan

If verified, this Hong Kong employer should be heavily punished & send to jail. Shame on him!

Alvin Andzin
Alvin Andzin

Hong Kong people are like that. Hong Kong people respects only for white people.

Chor Lopez
Chor Lopez

Not only Indonesians are abused, Filipino maids as well. reality check

Judy Bunch
Judy Bunch

This is what American right wing jerks want a slave nation so they can get away with abuses.

nicole_xi
nicole_xi

I hate myself as chinese.....no amount of money and progress would make the chinamen civilize.....pathetic.......I hope the Japanese civilize us..

nicole_xi
nicole_xi

I hate myself as chinese.....no amount of money and progress would make the chinamen civilize.....pathetic.......I hope the Japanese civilize us.

Jackie Wisniewski
Jackie Wisniewski

Dapat lahat ng bad abd abusive employer iblack list, tapos magbayad ng penalty or damages sa mga naaboso...

Monica Ewag
Monica Ewag

Bka lahi ng aswang yan employer na yan..sira ulo..

dr1056
dr1056

@nicole_xi Go jump off a cliff then. If not then don't use race as an excuse for modern day problems i.e. unlawful domestic violence and abuse to an unfortunate maid employed to a disgraceful employer who will face their just deserve with maximum penalties and prison sentence by the long arm of the law.