Terrified maid prayed to be rescued from ‘beasts’
An Indonesian maid who has accused her employers of torturing her for two years said on Tuesday she was too scared to flee and could only pray to Allah for rescue.
Giving evidence in the District Court Kartika Puspitasari, 30, also made further allegations against the pair, including that she was forced to work wearing only a translucent plastic bag and a diaper.
She said Tai Chi-wai, 42, and Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, had treated her normally in the beginning, but changed like “beasts” after the first three months.
Kartika, who also says she was not paid for her work, said her agent had visited her soon after she started working for the couple in July 2010.
But Au was always around and she had no chance to complain about the lack of pay. Au also used threats to stop her from telling anyone anything, she said.
She could not telephone for help as the couple used only mobile phones.
Questioned by defence lawyer Alan So, Kartika said she had previously worked as a domestic helper in Singapore for seven years and understood her basic rights as a helper.
She agreed that Au took her out to buy vegetables so she could leave the flat about 15 days a month. But she said she did not find a chance to flee.
While out with Au, the employer watched her every move and if she talked to people in the street she would be beaten up when they got home.
She said Au once forced her to wear the three-year-old daughter’s clothes, which were too small and tore, exposing her body, in the flat while Tai and the children were there.
Kartika, who has claimed she was left tied to a chair in a diaper while the family went on holiday to Thailand, said on Tuesday she was also wearing the translucent bag on that occasion.
When the family returned from the holiday – that lasted from June 27 to July 1 last year – she was weak and shaking after being left with no food or water and almost fainted after release.
But the couple asked her to carry on with her cleaning work and tied her up again after she finished.
Kartika said she was given only one meal in three days. When she was hungry they sometimes fed her salt and she was also forced to drink toilet water.
Once she scavenged for food in the rubbish bin and when Tai found out he scolded her for eating without his permission.
The couple also did not allow her to take a bath at home, the maid said. Au would take her to a public bathroom once in three days or a week but did not give her any soap so she had to wash herself using only water.
Kartika said the couple did not allow her to get close to the children. She was allowed to stay at home alone with the three-year-old daughter. But the couple would prepare food for the daughter and kept the maid tied up in the toilet while the little girl played with her toys.
The girl dared not to talk to her after seeing how Au treated her in daily life, Kartika said.
Under questioning, the maid admitted she had a chance to flee when the family was moving to a new flat on September 28 last year and she was left at home with the youngest daughter.
But she did not run away that day as she did not want to leave the little girl alone.
Tai and Au have denied seven counts of assault and one of false imprisonment. The trial continues before Deputy Judge So Wai-tak on Wednesday.
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