• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 4:30pm
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih
NewsHong Kong

Erwiana’s arrival in Hong Kong marred by dispute over accommodation

Disagreement over accommodation arrangements mars her arrival in city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 12:52pm

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, the domestic helper allegedly abused by her employer, returned to Hong Kong yesterday afternoon to help with evidence in the trial.

Her return was marred by a disagreement at the airport about where she would stay. At one point, Erwiana and her lawyer refused to leave the terminal for the Indonesian consulate.

We don’t know why [officials] are putting so much pressure on [Erwiana]

Police allegedly told them if they did not co-operate they would be sent back to Indonesia, Erwiana's companions said.

At about 5.15pm, Erwiana left for the consulate. She later agreed to stay in consulate accommodation on the condition she would not be separated from her lawyer, father, case worker and friend from Indonesia, said Eni Lestari of the Justice for Erwiana and All Migrant Domestic Workers Committee.

Three months after she left Hong Kong, Erwiana looked much healthier and the wounds on her face had healed.

She had earlier rejected an offer from the Indonesian foreign ministry office for consulate accommodation in Hong Kong.

"Erwiana decided to stay at accommodation provided by the Mission for Migrant Workers in Hong Kong. She sent a signed letter to police on April 3 indicating her wishes," said Lestari.

Lestari said Erwiana felt that Indonesian consular and foreign ministry officials were threatening her when they told her on Sunday: "We cannot be responsible if you cannot come with us."

Police said they had arranged for Erwiana to stay in the country's consulate under police protection. A spokeswoman added that police did not threaten Erwiana over the matter of accommodation but explained to her that arrangements about her stay would be reviewed if she refused to stay in consulate premises.

Eman Villanueva, of the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union in Hong Kong, said: "Erwiana is not under arrest. We don't know why they are putting so much pressure on her."

Erwiana is expected to stay in the city until Sunday.

Erwiana's former employer, Law Wan-tung, 44, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, and four counts of criminal intimidation against three domestic helpers. The case is due to resume on April 29.

On Monday evening, Hong Kong barrister-at-law Robert Tibbo commented on the actions of the Hong Kong authorities, saying that “the circumstances of Erwiana’s return to Hong Kong are nothing less than shocking”.

Mr Tibbo is legal advisor to the HK Helpers Campaign and also advised Edward Snowden during his visit to Hong Kong last year.

“The respective Hong Kong and Indonesian government interests are clearly adverse to Erwiana’s rights and interests. This is a case where Erwiana would be best protected by having Hong Kong lawyers stand between her and the respective Indonesian and Hong Kong governments so that the abuses of today are brought to an immediate stop. This would effectively remove the conflict of interests that exists between Erwiana and Hong Kong and Indonesian authorities”

With regards to reports that Erwiana was threatened with deportation and separated from her lawyer, father and friends, Mr Tibbo stated that the actions “amounted to nothing less than state oppression to compel Erwiana to comply with their demands”.

Additional reporting by Danny Mok


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Seeing by what is at stake here, I guess the embassy is probably the only place where she is safe for now.
How could the police threaten to send her back if she did not co-operate? She should be given the due dignity and hospitality on par with those of foreign diplomats.....
are you serious? she's far from a diplomat.
How shameful.
Mr Tibbo sure likes to make an extra buck off people in need. Typical lawyers.
meoli, r u too embarrassed to post your own views here so you attack the integrity of Mr Tibbo?
How About
To Chun YIng, this girl is a guest of HK assisting your police to criminally investigate with her own near crippling injury. Her guests are also guests of HK.
Now HK claims itself to be a generous city proudly championing the rule of law stands tall. Show the world that this is not just a media line-to-take, the cost of being generous is miniscule, so shower her and her guests with attention, and hopefully, with justice.
If this is handled right HK may just switch on the Fair-and-Open-to-All sign.
Almost funny that Hong Kong yet again can't see the forest because of all the trees.
HK-Explorer, there is a great deal of denial in Hong Kong of the fact that abuse of helpers is widespread. The HK Chief of Police denies abuse is widespread. The Indonesian Consulate denies abuse is widespread. It is very clear that these parties want to control Erwiana as much as possible.
I am sure the HK police did not threaten Erwiana. Most likely a well thought out plan had been put in place to ensure Erwiana's security by the Indonesian Embassy and the Hong Kong Police. They will be doing everything to ensure her security and protection as they know this is a very charged situation and there are crazy people who may try and harm Erwiana or unduly influence her to drop the charges.
I am also pretty sure her Lawyer Mr Tibbo would have 100% known the arrangements prior to arriving in Hong Kong and waited for the last minute to get a PR win by pretending to try to change the arrangements.
Most likely changing the arrangements would not have been in Erwiana's best interests. In the end she did go to the embassy which means her lawyer knowing it is in her best interest and as he had his PR stunt acted like he gave in. Very well orchestrated by Mr Tibbo. (Police PR need to up their game)




SCMP.com Account