A former maid of the woman who allegedly abused Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has applied for legal aid for a civil lawsuit against her ex-employer, according to the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union.
"She applied for legal aid on Thursday," said Sring Atin, speaking for the union. Sring said the application was still pending, and that Erwiana was also expected to apply.
Last month, Hong Kong's Mission for Migrant Workers said Erwiana had sought its help in filing a compensation claim.
Three Indonesian helpers, including Erwiana, have been identified by prosecutors as possible victims of abuse by Law Wan-tung, 44. Law has been charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one of common assault, and four of criminal intimidation against Erwiana, Tutik Lestari Ningish and Nurhasanah, a court heard on January 22. It is unclear which helper applied for legal aid.
Law was released on HK$500,000 cash bail and a HK$500,000 surety. She will appear in court on March 25.
Civil claims usually commence after all related criminal proceedings have ended.
Sring said yesterday she expected Erwiana to be back in Hong Kong next month to testify. She is currently in Indonesia.
A police team led by Chief Inspector Chung Chi-ming visited Indonesia to investigate Erwiana's claims.
"One Billion Rising" - a worldwide movement aimed at raising awareness of violence against women - is addressing the plight of migrant workers as part of its global campaign this year.
It has organised dance events for Valentine's Day in 207 countries to raise awareness of the problem.
Watch: Hong Kong's "One Billion Rising" Event in Victoria Park
Hong Kong organisers held the event yesterday, so more domestic workers could participate. More than 500 turned up at Victoria Park dressed in purple and calling for the abolition of "discriminatory" policies.
Eni Lestari, from the Asian Migrants' Co-ordinating Body, said the Indonesian government was partly to blame for treating its people as commodities.