Erwiana Sulistyaningsih

Erwiana’s former employer faces more charges

Latest charges relate to payment of wages and granting of holidays, labour minister says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 April, 2014, 6:24am

The woman accused of abusing Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and two other helpers also faces charges relating to wages paid and holidays granted.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said yesterday Law Wan-tung had been charged under the Employment Ordinance and the case would be heard on April 29.

Under the Employment Ordinance, employers must pay their helper a salary no less than the HK$4,010 per month not later than seven days after the end of the wage period. The helper is also entitled to one rest day a week and 12 statutory holidays a year.

It is a relief the department has finally done what it should have done long ago
Eni Lestari

Eni Lestari, spokeswoman for the support group Justice for Erwiana and All Migrant Domestic Workers Committee, said: "It is a relief that the department has finally done what it should have done long ago."

Cheung said the Labour Department acted after consulting the Department of Justice. "We are now following up on the case, but because legal proceedings have already commenced, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further," he said.

The employer already faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and four counts of criminal intimidation against three maids, including Erwiana.

Erwiana spent almost a month in an Indonesian hospital for treatment to her injuries after she left Hong Kong in January.

Law has been freed on bail until April 29.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Labour Donald Tong Chi-keung said he was trying to arrange a meeting with the head of the Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong to address the problem of high recruitment fees.

Hong Kong laws allow recruitment agencies to charge helpers only 10 per cent of their first month's salary, which is HK$401. But many have reported being charged as much as HK$20,000.

Deputy Commissioner for Labour Byron Ng Kwok-keung said one problem in cracking down on excessive agency fees was that often agreements were signed in the helpers' home countries.

The Erwiana support group will hold a press conference today to talk about the latest developments in the case.

Erwiana will not attend on the advice of her lawyer but a message from her will be read.