Four Hong Kong crime-squad officers will leave for Indonesia as early as Monday to take testimony from a maid who says she was tortured in Hong Kong, although her employer has denied the allegations.
The move came as the government vowed to strengthen checks on employment agencies for foreign domestic helpers and as details emerged of another allegation of abuse involving an Indonesian maid and her Hong Kong employer.
Expressing concern over Erwiana Sulistyaningsih's (pictured) case, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said any employment agency not in compliance with regulations would have its licence revoked.
"On this, the government will not be light-handed," Cheung said. "We do not tolerate any abuse and exploitation of foreign domestic helpers. They are part of the local workforce and we have the responsibility to protect them."
Erwiana, 23, alleges she was beaten, burned and tortured by her employer. The injuries were so severe she sought treatment upon returning to Indonesia at a Sragen, Java, hospital, where she is recovering.
A second maid, who gave her name as Bunga, says she also endured similar abuse from the same employer.
A third case of abuse surfaced yesterday involving allegations against a different employer, Professor Mak Chan Shuk-yin, an associate college head and dean of students at Chinese University's United College.
She was accused of beating her 50-year-old maid at her home in the Chinese University's staff quarters on November 23. The helper, who allegedly suffered head and leg injuries, made a report to police the next day.
After inquiries, police arrested Chan, 57. She was granted bail and was not charged. She is required to report back to police later this month.
In Erwiana's case, a police source said her 44-year-old employer denied the assault in a brief interview with officers on Sunday.
"Documents were also shown to our officers indicating the maid quit of her own accord and had returned to Indonesia," he said.
On Sunday afternoon, staff from the Indonesian consulate and Erwiana's employment agency were not allowed in when they went to the employer's home in Beverly Gardens in Tseung Kwan O to ask about the alleged assault.
Neighbours have told police they were unaware of any abuse.
Yesterday, police appealed for anyone with information on the case to contact the Kwun Tong district crime squad on 3661 1622.
Watch: Hong Kong domestic helpers demand justice for 'tortured maid'