Maids sue defeated Legco candidate

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 September, 1996, 12:00am

Lawyer and would-be legislator Helen Chung Yee-fong forced her two maids to work up to 17 hours a day without pay on her election campaign, a court heard yesterday.

Amie Camacho and Lenita Hernandez say Ms Chung, a self-professed champion of the underprivileged, had them putting up posters in the streets until 3 am.

The two Filipinas are suing her for $171,593 in damages for breach of contract. They claim they were severely maltreated in the run-up to last year's Legislative Council election.

Ms Chung was standing as an independent candidate for Kowloon Southwest on a mandate to fight for the rights of those with special needs.

But the maids claim the lawyer did not pay them while they were working on the campaign.

In statements before the District Court they describe how they were forced to spend the days preparing election literature and photocopying lists of voters names.

In the evenings they had to put up posters and hand out leaflets.

Ms Camacho said she was also forced to help with Ms Chung's attempt to stand for the Urban Council on March 5, last year.

She claims she was made to work 14 hours every Sunday, her statutory day off, after she was hired on February 13, last year.

When the maids asked for their outstanding wages on September 9, Ms Chung allegedly demanded they quit immediately, but asked them to write a note saying it was their decision.

They wrote: 'We, Amie and Lenita are leaving now . . . at midnight because we cannot any longer stand to work for your Legco candidacy.' The seat was won by Democrat James To Kun-sun. Ms Chung was fourth.

The hearing continues before Judge Chung.