• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 12:04pm
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih
NewsHong Kong

Indonesian maid in abuse case ‘beaten in head for at least 6 months’, doctors say

Erwiana's doctor says injuries could only have come from blows to head

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 January, 2014, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 10:44am

Brain injuries have left Erwiana Sulistyaningsih unable to walk and struggling to see, her doctor in Indonesia says, adding that it is too early to tell whether the damage is permanent.

"Erwiana was beaten on the head for a period of at least six months. She couldn't have received her injuries any other way," said Dr Iman Fadhli, who has been treating the maid since she fled Hong Kong and the employer she claims tortured and abused her. Erwiana told medical staff her head was often slammed against the wall during beatings.

The employer was arrested yesterday after accusations of abuse by another former maid. Erwiana says she wants to return to Hong Kong to seek justice.

Fadhli, general surgeon at the Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital in Sragen, said a CAT scan on Wednesday showed that Erwiana's entire brain was swollen. She became dizzy when she stood and her vision was blurred.

"The brain is the centre of the body so anything can happen to her at this point. We are giving her medication to reduce the swelling and monitoring her condition very closely," Fadhli said. The double vision could have been caused by injuries to the face, he added. X-rays indicated she had a deviated septum, a displacement of the nose wall commonly caused by blunt impact.

A South China Morning Post reporter visited Erwiana in hospital yesterday. She is resting in a private room surrounded by relatives and visitors from her family's village in Ngawi, East Java. Relatives have laid down a mat against the wall of the room where they sit, while her parents sit at the head and foot of the bed.

Fadhli said Erwiana had been too weak to speak when reports first emerged of her situation; her emotional state had been fragile and she had trouble eating. She had now started to smile again.

Antik, a member of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Network, which is representing Erwiana, told the Post more details about the helper's case.

"When [one month into her employment] Erwiana escaped from her employer's home to … call her agency in Indonesia to complain, she hadn't been beaten yet," Antik said.

"She started getting beaten two days later, when she tried to steal biscuits to eat because she was so hungry, and her employer caught her and then beat her every day. She was also forced to take her meals, which consisted of three pieces of bread and one bowl of rice each day, in the bathroom instead of the kitchen."

Budi Sulistyono, city chief of Ngawi, pledged to co-operate with Hong Kong police and Labour Department officials who have arrived to take a statement.

"First, Erwiana has to become healthy before she can go back to Hong Kong ... but we fully support a legal suit against her employers and the agency in Hong Kong. Erwiana's agency in Indonesia also needs to take responsibility," Budi said after meeting Erwiana yesterday afternoon.

Asked whether Jakarta would offer more protection for the nearly 150,000 Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Budi said "agencies and employers have to be punished".

The Post revealed yesterday that Erwiana's lawyers had discussed the possibility of suing the Hong Kong government.

Under Article 3 of the 1997 Bill of Rights, the government has a duty to protect people from torture and "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".

Labour minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung reiterated that the employer and agency would be held accountable if sufficient evidence was available.


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This article is now closed to comments

There is no doubt in my mind that if this is all true, then the employer will be convicted and will have quite a bit of prison time.
I'm from HK and I find this whole thing so outrageous. We all have domestic help, and we treat them like family. However, I have always thought that the process of getting help is far too easy. There is no agency to check if a family should be allowed/have the space to be able to employ domestic helpers. These laws need to be addressed. Our helpers have their own room, own bathroom which I think if you cannot offer in HK you shouldn't be allowed to be able to keep full time help. It's such disgusting behavior, hopefully it makes other residents think about how they treat their help and make some changes. This is unacceptable.
Shame for Hong Kong and sure there are more cases like this
Roy Yau
Earthizen and people from all over the world,
It was the CCP-trained PRC tyrant in HK who did it, not HK people.
We HK people have not the say to filter out cruel people, greedy people, criminals, murders like Ku Hoi Loi or Shi Kwan Lung to move to HK, and they are NOT true HK people.
We need to clarify that internationally, NY times and various newspapers abroad have already a bad name on HK people instead of those from PRC.
Some of the HK people have been asking for abolish the "one-way-permit" scheme to stop CCP sending anyone into HK without HK people's approval and background checks, etc. We also ask for sponsorship to migrate into HK, especially those CCP has sent into HK, are now after the welfare and social resources HK people have been building up and making.
We need stop the Yellow Peril form PRC and CCP!
Please support groups or organisations likes HKAM (Hong Kong Autonomy Movement) and other true HK guardian groups and organisations. Beware of those who claim to be and they pretend to be "leftists" while actually they're CCP's spies in HK or CCP peripheral helpers.
Please help share this clarification to people all over the world, we need your help. Thanks a bunch in advance.
Thanks for your help and concern. : )
A Responsible HK Citizen
The fact that the employer was arrested at the airport is to take as an admission of guilt.
We all feel for Erwiana. The fact that HK Police has arrested the employer and the subsequent investigations will show that HK is a law-enforcing place with decent people. I am sorry that incidents of abuse have been found to be committed. Please will everybody who have been abused either at home or in the workplace report to the police, so that justice can prevail. Employers who behave as reported, and their families, should never be allowed to employ staff ever again. Whatever the employers' personal problems, treating other people as reported is just NOT on, and perpetrators should be severely punished. I hope Erwiana will make a full recovery soon. She did not deserve to be treated like this and I wish this had been exposed much earlier.
The very sad thing is that this employer who abused Erwiana has previously been charged by the police with abusing a maid but the charges were dropped in 2012!
How did this happen? We now have the police charging this employer for abuse of helpers who worked for her in 2010 and 2011.
Hong Kong is not doing enough to protect the people who are the backbone of the middle class- helpers who enable the middle class to have a double income.
Roy Yau
As a Responsible true HK Citizen, I do feel for Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.
A Responsible HK Citizen
a voice of reason among many emotional postings. I fully agree, unfortunately there are no standards, ie, you can live in 500sqft with kids and family and still hire a maid to sleep on the floor or in the kids room.
or hire 2 maids squished into a 600sq ft flat w/ 2 adults and kids.
this is the failing of the HK govt. On the other hand, it's the poor who need maid help most w/ kids, household chores, both parents working long hours but they live in small flats. Part of the issue, no effective day care facilities and long working hours in HK.
uh no. that means she's a suspect in a crime case with evidence she did commit a crime but still need to do the legal due diligence.



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