Domestic helper, 32, held over abortion as fetus found in rubbish collection centre in Hong Kong
Woman had complained of feeling unwell at employer’s flat and was taken to hospital
A 32-year-old domestic helper has been arrested on suspicion of having an abortion in a public housing flat and leaving the fetus at a rubbish collection centre in the Kowloon Bay area of Hong Kong.
The woman, an Indonesian, complained of having a stomach ache at around midnight Friday so her employer in Choi Sing House, Choi Ha Estate, took her to United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.
A medical examination indicated she had an abortion and police were alerted at about 1.30am.
She bought medicine for the abortion and took it on Wednesday, a police source said. “The body of her fetus was dumped in a rubbish collection centre on Thursday afternoon,” he said.
The 31-week-old fetus was found at a refuse centre in the estate on Friday morning.
The helper was arrested on suspicion of administering drugs to procure an abortion, according to a police spokeswoman. She was being held in hospital’s custodial ward and had not been charged.
The source said an autopsy would be carried out. Crime squad officers from Sau Mau Ping police district were handling the case. Officers collected evidence at the flat and the refuse centre.
In Hong Kong, administering drugs or using an instrument to procure your own miscarriage carries a maximum penalty of a seven-year jail term under the Offences Against the Person Ordinance.
In November, a fetus was found in a public toilet at a North Point market prompting police to launch a search for two women after reviewing security camera footage of the area.
In April 2014, a 38-week-old fetus, wrapped in a recycling bag, was found on an empty train at Yau Ma Tei MTR station. The girl was taken to the Kwong Wah Hospital where she was declared dead. After reviewing security camera footage, police arrested a 27-year-old Indonesian domestic worker.
In May 2008, an embryo was found in a plastic bag dumped outside a refuse collection centre at King Chung House in King Lam Estate, Tseung Kwan O. Police later arrested a teenage girl in connection with the case.
The news comes soon after the Post published a package on the plight of migrant mothers – most of them domestic workers - in Hong Kong.
“We are dealing with an unnecessary humanitarian crisis,” said Kay McArdle, CEO of Pathfinders, the only charitable group in the city that exclusively provides support to migrant mothers.
Referring to previous cases of migrant mothers who abandoned their children, she said: “We are shocked and saddened by these stories, but sadly we are not surprised.”
How an Indonesian domestic helper’s unexpected pregnancy in Hong Kong brought heartache and ultimately joy
McArdle said her organisation had observed a growing demand on distressed migrant women, who after becoming pregnant often fear losing their jobs, must deal with legal matters, lack health support and sometimes face depression. Last year alone, the group helped 988 women and children, almost twice the number that it had supported five years earlier.
McArdle called on Hong Kong to introduce clear guidelines on how to deal with pregnant mothers and their babies, as well as to set up a children’s commission. “Policies need to be put in place to at least alleviate the crisis we are handling and help people navigate a defined path,” she said.