Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

Family of Indonesian domestic helper killed by falling tree branch in Hong Kong appeals for help

Son-in-law calls on local authorities and organisations to speed up process of returning Jumiati Supadi’s body to her home country

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, 9:25am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, 10:58pm

The family of an Indonesian domestic helper who was killed by a falling tree branch in Hong Kong appealed for help on Tuesday to have her body returned to their country as soon as possible.

The two grown children of Jumiati Supadi, 48, expressed shock over her death as they had spoken to their mother on the phone just a day before the tragedy.

Supadi, who came from Blitar Regency, East Java, is survived by her son and daughter Anto and Titin in Indonesia, according to website Liputan BMI, which covers news on migrant workers from the country.

‘Improper pruning’ behind rotted tree branch that killed helper

Dedi, Jumiati’s son-in-law, said the family learned of her death from a friend whose wife was working in Hong Kong. Family members were still in shock, Dedi said, adding: “Until now, Anto and Titin have not been able to talk about their mother.

“It is as if they can’t believe the news because on Monday afternoon, one day before she died, they were still talking to each other as usual on the phone and she sounded cheerful.”

It is as if they can’t believe the news because on Monday afternoon, one day before she died, they were still talking to each other as usual
Dedi, son-in-law

Dedi told Liputan BMI that the recruitment agency was not able to confirm when the body would be sent home because various procedures had to be completed. “On behalf of the family, I’m asking for help from government representatives and those from the different Hong Kong organisations so that the body can be sent home immediately.”

Jumiati was struck by a 4½-metre-long branch at 7.29am on Tuesday as she was walking with her employer along New Clear Water Bay Road in Sau Mau Ping. The branched weighed 30kg.

She was sent to United Christian Hospital nearby where she was later declared dead.

According to a police source, the domestic helper was heading to a tennis court with her 51-year-old employer when the incident happened. A bag and tennis balls were scattered at the scene when officers arrived.

Jumiati is believed to have worked in the city as a domestic helper for more than a decade.

The Indonesian consul general in Hong Kong said he was “shocked to learn the news” in a press release on Tuesday.

Tree management under fire after falling branch kills Indonesian domestic helper

“The consulate is currently in close coordination with relevant authorities in Hong Kong and Indonesia in arranging the transport of Jumiati’s remains to Indonesia for burial,” the statement said. The consulate also urged the Hong Kong government to take necessary actions to prevent similar incidents.

The Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims said in a statement that the tree was situated on a site which should be maintained by the Housing Department.

The association urged the department to make immediate arrangements and work closely with the Tree Management Office on the maintenance and inspection of trees.

The office under the Development Bureau and the Housing Department had expressed sadness over Tuesday’s accident at the Shun Lee public housing estate.

They said the 40-year-old Indian rubber tree stood 15 metres tall. It had been inspected in June by the Housing Department, which had arranged for a contractor to prune it and remove dead branches by August 24.

The contractor began the pruning work on Tuesday afternoon following the woman’s death.

Immediately after the accident, 16 firefighters were deployed to check the tree. They removed three more branches – each three metres long and 10cm thick – which they believed could be a danger to pedestrians.

The case marked the fifth tree-related death in the city over the past 10 years, with critics pointing out how little progress had been made since the last fatality, when a heavily pregnant woman was killed by a falling tree in Mid-Levels in 2014.