Date
23 September 2017
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih arrives for her court hearing. She is accusing her employer of abuse. Photo: AFP
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih arrives for her court hearing. She is accusing her employer of abuse. Photo: AFP

Horrific details emerge in HK maid abuse trial

A former domestic helper is back in court Tuesday to continue her testimony over claims she has been starved, beaten and habitually humiliated by her Hong Kong employer.

In graphic testimony at the start of the hearing Monday, Indonesian Erwiana Sulistyaningsih described how she lived on nothing but bread and rice, slept only four hours a day for months on end and was regularly beaten by her former.

She accused Law Wan-tung, 44, of inflicting the suffering on her, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday. 

“I was tortured,” the 23-year-old was quoted by French news agency AFP as she appeared before a judge in a packed courtroom.

“She often hit me… sometimes she would hit me from behind, sometimes she hit me in the front. I was hit so often sometimes I got a headache… She hit me in my mouth [so] I had difficulty breathing,” she said through in interpreter.

In one incident, Erwiana said she was stripped naked, covered with water and made to stand in front of a fan in the bathroom in the middle of winter.

The case has sparked international outrage, shining a spotlight on the plight of hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in Hong Kong.

In May, thousands took to the streets to protest for better working conditions.

Law, a mother of two, was arrested in January as she tried to board a flight to Thailand but was released on bail, according to Ming Pao.

Erwiana said Law made her live on six pieces of bread and one bowl of rice per day, allowing her only four hours of rest.

Also, she said she was not permitted to talk to anyone.

When Law found her exhausted from hunger, Law allegedly put a vacuum cleaner pipe in her mouth and twisted it.

Erwiana said Law kept her in fear by threatening to harm her parents in Indonesia if she told anyone.

She said she became a virtual prisoner after her employer caught her trying to run away.

Law faces abuse charges relating to bodily harm with intent, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages.

She has denied all charges except one count relating to failure to buy insurance for Erwiana.

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TL/AC/RA

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