'She threatened to throw me off the balcony': Second domestic helper alleges employee beatings
As police prepare to visit Indonesia, a second domestic helper says she also suffered abuse
Joanna Chiu and Clifford Lo
An Indonesian domestic helper who claims she worked for the employer accused of torturing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih revealed yesterday that she had suffered similar beatings and death threats in 2010.
The claims came as Hong Kong police sources revealed officers would visit Erwiana, 23, in Indonesia. A migrant workers' group working with Erwiana said her wounds were healing, though she still suffered from headaches caused by blows to the head.
At a "Justice for Erwiana" protest outside the Indonesian consulate in Causeway Bay yesterday, 28-year-old Bunga said she experienced 10 months of beatings working for Erwiana's alleged abuser.
"One time the employer got so angry she dragged me onto the balcony and threatened to throw me off it. She made me beg for my life," Bunga said. "I told her that she could beat me as much as she wanted but I went on my knees and begged her not to kill me because I had a son."
Bunga said she was never allowed outside the Tseung Kwan O flat and would be locked in when the family went out.
"The woman threatened to pay the Indonesian police money to kill my entire family if I talked to others about the beatings," she said. She was eventually helped to leave by an employment agency, but the agency urged her not to press charges.
"I'm speaking out now because I feel so sad I didn't do anything to help Erwiana," she said.
Erwiana was also not permitted to leave the home and the employer also threatened to "kill her family" if she told of her treatment, according to Eni Lestari, head of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Network.
Bunga said she would consider co-operating with police. Police sources said last night that they were trying to contact her.
Meanwhile, the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, which is helping Erwiana, revealed that she had appointed lawyers in Indonesia and Hong Kong. "Erwiana has become angry, saying 'I want to go back to Hong Kong and beat back my employer'," said Karsiwen, the association's spokeswoman.
Police sources revealed yesterday that officers planned to travel to Sragen, Java, where Erwiana is in hospital.
They will travel in the next few days after a meeting between the Kwun Tong crime squad and Indonesian consular officials on Wednesday.
"They were very helpful. Both sides take it seriously," the police source said, adding that police needed to speak to Erwiana because so far they had only "second-hand information".
The Post yesterday visited the employer's building for a second time, but received no response.
Watch: Hong Kong domestic helpers demand justice for 'tortured maid'