Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Woman who abused ex-domestic worker Erwiana blocked from appealing Hong Kong damages order involving other Indonesian

Judge who ordered her to pay HK$170,000 says application ‘must be refused’ in ‘interests of justice’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 June, 2018, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 June, 2018, 8:42pm

The Hong Kong employer jailed for torturing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih was blocked from mounting an appeal against a recent court order to pay another Indonesian domestic helper HK$170,000 (US$21,600) in damages for assault and for holding her captive nearly a year.

The District Court on Thursday threw out Law Wan-tung’s summons for leave to appeal and stay of execution of a court order, after judge Liu Man-kin reviewed his February judgment and concluded the application “must be refused”.

“There is no reasonable prospect of success in the defendant’s appeal,” he wrote. “Further, I am of the view that there is no other reason in the interests of justice that the appeal should be heard.”

Liu had ordered Law to pay Tutik Lestari Ningsih HK$170,000 plus interest after accepting the Indonesian’s claim she had been assaulted on several occasions and imprisoned for 346 days, during which time she was only paid HK$6,000 to work 20 hours a day with no holidays.

But Law’s counsel, Stephanie Wong, argued in appeal filed two weeks later that the court had erred in not dismissing those claims.

Without challenging any of the factual findings made by the judge, Wong said the court had given an exceedingly liberal reading of Tutik’s claims.

There is no other reason in the interests of justice that the appeal should be heard
Liu Man-kin, District Court judge

The lawyer also argued that “complete confinement” was needed to warrant damages for false imprisonment. The situation alleged by Tutik, she claimed, at most pointed to an inhumane or intolerable condition of imprisonment.

To this, Liu replied: “With respect, I am unable to accept these submissions.”

The judge said Tutik’s complaint was not targeting the conditions of imprisonment, but the imprisonment itself and its nature being a detention without authority.

The same court in 2015 slapped a six-year jail term and a HK$15,000 fine on Law after finding the beautician guilty in a criminal trial of assaulting and intimidating Tutik before abusing Erwiana.

Photographs of Erwiana’s injuries quickly spread through social media and led to public outrage in Hong Kong and abroad.

Law lost her appeal in 2016 against her conviction and sentence, with the Court of Appeal’s Mr Justice Michael Lunn warning that further attempts to clear her name could result in more jail time.