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Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Showing naked images of children ‘not a big problem’ in Indonesia, top envoy in Hong Kong says amid footage row

But consul general urges helpers in city not to act ‘carelessly’ in posting such material

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 8:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 10:58pm

Showing pictures or videos of naked children showering is “not a big problem” in Indonesia, the country’s top envoy in Hong Kong said, blaming “cultural difference” for the arrest of an Indonesian domestic worker who live-streamed footage of her employer’s three bare-bodied children.

However, the consulate said it had asked Indonesian domestic helpers working in the city not to “carelessly” do so without permission or consent.

The comments were made in a written reply to queries from the South China Morning Post over the arrest of a 28-year-old domestic helper on Monday.

She was charged by police on Wednesday for publishing child pornography and will appear in Eastern Court on Thursday.

In a statement, Indonesian consul general Tri Tharyat said: “There’s a cultural difference between Hong Kong and Indonesia in expressing love to someone else’s children, for example, kissing or hugging children.

“For Indonesians, it’s not a big problem to post a picture or video of naked children in the shower.”

For Indonesians, it’s not a big problem to post a picture or video of naked children in the shower
Indonesian consul general Tri Tharyat

The consul general acknowledged that the laws in Hong Kong highly valued “the rights of privacy” and that posting pictures or videos of someone without their permission or consent could be illegal.

He said the consulate had already advised Indonesian citizens not to act carelessly in posting such material and not to post pornography.

The helper was arrested on Monday for allegedly showing the naked children taking their showers in a bathroom in a North Point flat during a Facebook live broadcast last Friday night. The girl and two boys were said to be aged five to seven.

The video clip has since been removed.

The helper was said to have worked for her employer for about two years.

The consulate’s response came after Eni Lestari, spokeswoman for the Hong Kong-based Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, blamed the matter on “cultural differences”.

Lestari, an Indonesian national, called on the authorities to provide guidelines for domestic helpers on culturally unaccepted behaviour.

Hong Kong Employment Agencies Association chairman Cheung Kit-man said the domestic helper might not have been aware that her act could have broken the law. Cheung believed it was an isolated case.

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Under the Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance, anyone who publishes child pornography can face a maximum sentence of eight years and a fine of up to HK$2 million (US$255,000).

There are more than 320,000 overseas maids working in Hong Kong. Close to half are from Indonesia.