Hong Kong woman convicted of beating, starving Indonesian maid

A Hong Kong woman was convicted on Tuesday (Feb 10) of beating and starving her Indonesian maid and keeping her prisoner in a case.

The verdict was met with cheers by activists and supporters of Ms Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a former domestic helper who has become the face of a campaign for improved workers' rights in the financial hub.

Pictures of the injuries sustained by the 24-year-old, who was left in a critical condition after being abused by mother-of-two Law Wan Tung, fuelled anger in Indonesia and shocked Hong Kong.

Ms Sulistyaningsih hailed the ruling but called for reforms to ensure Hong Kong employers no longer treated domestic workers "like slaves".

She said that while she forgave her abuser, she hoped Law would receive the maximum seven year jail term when sentencing is announced on Feb 27.

Former maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih attends a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday (Feb 10) after her employer was convicted of beating her in a "torture" case. PHOTO: AFP


"She was, for want of a better word, a prisoner in those premises," said Judge Amanda Woodcock, referring to Ms Sulistyaningsih.

"She was completely isolated, and (this) helps explain why this abuse could go on for so long without her retaliating or anyone knowing."

"When Erwiana left Hong Kong she was a shadow of her former self."

Law, 44, was found guilty of 18 of the 20 charges laid against her, including grievous bodily harm, assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages.

"The message should be brought home that if you live in a society where you’re fortunate enough to employ a domestic helper, they’re still protected by the law," said police detective superintendent David Cameron.

Source: AFP

hong kongErwiana SulistyaningsihLaw Wan-tung