Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 1, 2015
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Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Foreign domestic workers make up around 3 per cent of the Hong Kong population. In 2013, there were some 320,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, of which 50 per cent were from the Philippines, 47 per cent from Indonesia, and the rest from Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hong Kong law states that such workers must reside with their employers. Their wages are subject to a statutory minimum of HK$4,010 per month from September 30 last year. There have been several high-profile court cases in which domestic workers have alleged torture and abuse at the hands of their employers. According to a 2013 report by Amnesty International, Indonesian migrant domestic workers are at risk of serious human and labour rights violations in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong officers fly to Indonesia to meet maid at centre of torture probe

Senior police inspector Candy Li Ka-yan (woman in white top) and Chief police inspector Chung Chi-ming (man in the centre) depart for Indonesia to investigate the case involving domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. Photo: Nora Tam

Six Hong Kong police and labour officers set off for Indonesia on Monday morning as a criminal investigation into the alleged torture of a maid by her Hong Kong employer got underway.

Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 10:42am 8 comments

Indonesian maid at centre of 'torture ordeal' row could sue Hong Kong government

Protesters on the march to government headquarters yesterday in support of Indonesian helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. Photo: Nora Tam

The Indonesian domestic helper who claims she suffered eight months of torture at the hands of her Hong Kong employer may sue the city's government. Representatives of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, who is in hospital back home, claim the city's human rights laws could have been breached.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:41am 44 comments

New employee abuse victims emerge as thousands march for justice for Erwiana

Protesters march to support Erwiana. Photo: Nora Tam

Thousands of foreign domestic workers and supporters of the Indonesian maid at the heart of torture allegations rallied yesterday to demand justice for Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and the prosecution of the employer accused of abusing her.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:41am 25 comments

Maid live-in rule must stay, says labour chief Matthew Cheung

Protesters outside Erwiana's employment agency. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Labour chief Matthew Cheung Kin-chung has flatly rejected calls to lift the live-in rule for foreign domestic helpers. Last week's news that another maid had been abused sparked the latest demands from domestic helpers to allow them to live away from their bosses.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:41am 20 comments

Maid-abuse case highlights the need to act

Protesters call for support for abused Indonesian maid, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

An international news magazine has headlined a reference to Indonesian maids as Hong Kong's modern-day slaves. This was prompted by alleged serial assault of a maid by her local employers, widely reported here and abroad. It is unfair to most employers and an undeserved slur on the city's reputation. Nonetheless, such abuse must be condemned in the strongest terms.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:39am 3 comments

Labour minister pledges to punish unscrupulous maid agencies after beating allegations

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. Photo: Nora Tam

The Hong Kong government has vowed to step up monitoring of employment agencies for foreign domestic helpers after two Indonesian maids alleged that their Hong Kong employer had tortured them separately.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:39am 9 comments

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong must be protected from abuse

Maids and rights activists protest over allegations of Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih being abused. Photo: AFP

You will hear all kinds of excuses and defences about how Hong Kong has better legal protection for foreign maids than most other jurisdictions. Officials, agents and bosses will circle their wagons, insisting what happened was an isolated incident rather than something widespread.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:38am 23 comments

'She threatened to throw me off the balcony': Second domestic helper alleges employee beatings

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih in hospital in Sragen, Java. Police plan to go there in the next few days to take a statement. Photo: AFP

An Indonesian domestic helper who claims she worked for the employer accused of torturing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih revealed yesterday that she had suffered similar beatings and death threats in 2010.

21 Jan 2014 - 10:38am

Letters to the Editor, January 7, 2013

Kam Kee Cafe shuts down after 45 years. Photo: Dickson Lee

Laws designed to protect maids ignored

I could not agree more with Geoff Carey's letter regarding the vulnerability of domestic helpers in Hong Kong ("Maids will be at mercy of agencies", January 1).

I especially want to direct attention to his point that Hong Kong does have rule of law, "but its effectiveness depends on enforcement".

7 Jan 2013 - 2:36am 3 comments

Expats rush in to escape Euro-woes

Europe's economic troubles are washing up on Hong Kong's shores in the form of a surge in migrants from the continent coming to the city to work.

28 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Complaints about helper agencies rise

Complaints about agencies providing domestic helpers are on the increase, with employers feeling cheated when new staff never arrive, quit within days of starting or lack the necessary skills.

16 May 2012 - 12:00am

Filipino mother challenges refusal to extend her stay

Immigration chiefs have 'tolerated' a Filipino woman's presence in Hong Kong for the last five years but have refused to officially extend her stay despite her daughter being a permanent resident, a court heard.

Former domestic helper Milagros Tecson Comilang yesterday officially challenged the Immigration Department's repeated refusal to formally extend her stay in the city.

9 May 2012 - 12:00am

Court overturns maid abode ruling

Hong Kong's Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a landmark ruling that gave tens of thousands of domestic helpers the right to apply for permanent residency.

29 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Home is where the work is

Cheung Chun-fai was totally opposed when his daughter first broached the idea of hiring a maid to help care for his Alzheimer's stricken wife, Wong Mui-ling.

'I found the idea of having a stranger in the house unnerving. I am strong, and I have no problem tending to her needs,' says the 78-year-old former taxi driver.

26 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Official denies scare tactic claims on right of abode

The head of the Immigration Department yesterday dismissed suggestions that the government had resorted to scare tactics in its fight against pleas by domestic helpers to be allowed the right of abode in Hong Kong.

21 Jan 2012 - 12:00am