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Hong Kong Couple Jailed For Torturing Indonesian Maid

posted 18 Sep 2013, 08:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Sep 2013, 08:31 ]

Hong Kong couple gets jail time for torturing and abusing their Indonesian maid who was "forced to wear diaper."

HONG KONGCHINA (SEPTEMBER 18, 2013) (REUTERS) - A Hong Kong couple were jailed on Wednesday (September 18) for torturing, beating and abusing their Indonesian maid, who said they once dressed her in a diaper and tied her to a chair for five days while they went on holiday.

Forty-two year old Tai Chi-wai, an electric appliance salesman, was jailed for three years and three months and his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, a forty-one year old public hospital assistant, were handed a five and a half year jail term after being found guilty of a total of eight charges, including assault and wounding with intent.

The couple repeatedly assaulted and tortured Kartika Puspitasari, over a two-year period until she escaped last October.

The 30-year-old had endured being beaten with a bicycle chain and had been scalded with a hot iron receiving burns to her face and arms, the District Court had heard.

The case has done harm to Hong Kong's reputation as a safe place to work with Deputy District Judge,So Wai-tak stating that the case would, "send a clear message that every worker is protected by the laws."

Kartika did not appear in court to hear the verdict, but about 30 migrant workers, chanting slogans such as "justice for all migrants" and "justice for Kartika" gathered outside the court building.

"Kartika will happy with this decision. But if, we said this is not really fair for Kartika also, because Kartika already abused for two years. We hope this is not only, because the justice not only after have victim, but Hong Kong government must really, really to review the policy. No more Kartika, no more have migrant be abused by employer," said Ganika Diristiani who heads the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers.

The workers demanded that certain policies be reviewed, such as one that stipulates that foreign domestic workers whose employment is terminated must leave the city in two weeks if they fail to find another job.

They are also for an end to a law that requires maids to live with their employers, saying the rule exposes them to abuse.

"One of which is the two-week rule. And the mandatory living arrangement that make us work with no limit of time. And we are forced to stay at home even without any proper accommodation," said Dolores Balladares, spokeswoman of Asian Migrants Co-ordinating Body.

The Mission for Migrant Workers said last month that a survey of more than 3,000 women conducted inHong Kong last year found that 58 percent had faced verbal abuse, 18 percent had experienced physical abuse and a further six per cent had been the victims of sexual abuse.

The group, which provides a shelter for abused migrant workers, said it has received over 1,000 complaints already this year, the majority of which are about abuse.

"In any given year, from previous years, we get between 800 to 1,500 cases a year. Now, at this point, we have more than 1,000 already. At this point of the year, and we haven't finished the whole year yet, and it's not the last quarter of the year. So it's serious. It's serious in the sense that some people think that it's not abuse. They think when they are treating their foreign domestic workers much lower than, or worse than, when they treat their pets, it's sad that some people think it's acceptable to treat your domestic workers badly," said Cynthia Ca Abdon-Tellez, general manager of Mission for Migrant Workers.

Hong Kong has roughly 300,000 domestic helpers, largely from the Philippines and Indonesia, but also from NepalIndia and Pakistan.

They are excluded from a minimum wage and other basic rights and services.

In March, Hong Kong's highest court ruled against granting residency to two Filipino maids, dashing the hopes of several hundred thousand domestic helpers from ever gaining residency in the city.