Erwiana Sulistyaningsih

Indonesian maid Erwiana was 'prisoner' in employer's home, father claims

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 9:34am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 5:16am

Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih was forced to break contact with her family for six months and was barred from leaving her employers' flat, her parents have claimed.

Erwiana's father, Rohmad Saputro, spoke to the South China Morning Post at the Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital in Sragen, East Java, where his 23-year-old daughter is receiving treatment.

Describing the steps that led to her virtual "imprisonment" in her employers' Tseung Kwan O flat, he said through a translator: "My daughter called me about one month into her stay in Hong Kong, telling me she had only four minutes to talk and that I must not call her back.

"She told us she wouldn't call again for six months, but that we shouldn't worry ... We later learned her employer was … forcing her to say those things."

Erwiana claims it was after this point that her employer, Lo Wan-tung, 44, began to hit her on a daily basis. The helper was allegedly locked in the flat whenever the family went out.

Lo also allegedly threatened to kill Erwiana's family members if she told of her treatment.

Erwiana started working in Hong Kong on May 27 last year. This month, she arrived back home in Indonesia with serious injuries.

Her parents are farmers and she has a younger brother, 11, who is still in school.

Iweng Karsiwen, a member of the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, said Erwiana wanted to work as a helper so that she could earn enough to fulfil her "dream of going to university and becoming an accountant".

Lo was arrested at the Hong Kong airport on Monday as she was attempting to take a flight to Thailand. She has yet to be charged.

An Indonesian detective confirmed to the Post yesterday that local police were investigating Erwiana's agency, Graha Ayu Karsa, based in Tangerang near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Erwiana has been undergoing treatment in hospital since she arrived home on January 11. Her doctor said she suffered swelling of the brain that "must have been caused by beatings to the head" for at least six months.