Erwiana’s boss faces seven charges over alleged abuse of maids

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 1:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 8:01pm

A 44-year-old woman appeared in court on Wednesday accused of abusing Indonesia maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and two other domestic helpers.

Wearing a black down jacket, Law Wan-tung, 44, appeared in Kwun Tong Court about two hours after police formally laid charges against her.

Law, who claims to be a housewife, is facing a total of seven charges. These included one count of wounding, two of common assault and four of criminal intimidation.

Two of the charges allege that Law caused grievous bodily harm to Erwiana and threatened her and her family between July 5 last year and January 9, 2014. The alleged offences took place at her home in Tseung Kwan O.

Three other charges allege that Law assaulted and injured a second maid, Tutik Lestari Ningsih, as well as threatening to injure Ningsih and her family between April 19, 2010 and March 30, 2011. The alleged offence took place at Law’s former home in Mong Kok.

The remaining two charges allege that Law assaulted a third helper, Nurhasanah, and threatened to injure her and her family at the Mong Kok flat in December 2011.

A magistrate released Law on a HK$500,000 cash bail and a HK$500,000 surety until the next hearing scheduled for March 25. The magistrate said it was possible the case would be transferred to a higher court because of its seriousness. 

Law was intercepted at an Immigration Department checkpoint at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday afternoon while trying to leave for Thailand.

The arrest was made hours before four crime-squad officers arrived in a hospital in Java, Indonesia to take a statement from Erwiana, who is being treated for injuries there.

The investigation team led by Chief Inspector Chung Chi-ming left for Indonesia with two labour officers and three consulate staff.

The team took a statement from Erwiana and studied medical reports of her injuries. Officers also interviewed her doctors.

The team is expected to return Hong Kong later this week.

Erwiana, 23, arrived in Hong Kong in May last year to work. She returned to Indonesia early this month.

The alleged assault of Erwiana unfolded on January 12 when a report was made to Hong Kong police.

On Sunday, thousands of foreign domestic helpers and their supporters protested in Hong Kong over the case.