Indonesian maid jailed for three months in Hong Kong for streaming video of children bathing
Yuni Kristiani, 28, recorded three of the four children under her care at her employer’s residence, despite instructions from their mother to never photograph or video them without her authorisation
An Indonesian domestic helper was on Monday jailed for three months for publishing on Facebook a 17-minute live-streaming video of three Hong Kong children naked in the shower.
Eastern Court heard Yuni Kristiani, 28, recorded three of the four children under her care at her employer’s residence on December 1 last year, despite instructions from their mother to never take pictures or videos of them without her authorisation.
However, Yuni has since earned forgiveness from the family as revealed in a mitigation letter, presented after she pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent.
The footage concerned began with a close-up of Yuni looking into the camera of her phone – set in the sink cabinet – before she gave way to show a five-year-old boy naked in the bathtub.
“Wait, the camera can’t capture you,” she said, as he walked out to the toilet bowl to get dressed.
Yuni was seen smiling at the camera, while the boy seemed more reluctant as he moved the phone and said: “Don’t picture me.”
The boy was also heard asking if the recording was still on, to which Yuni replied, “No”, before she summoned his seven-year-old twin brother and sister to the bathroom by their full Chinese names and recorded them as they took turns to shower.
The video was brought to her employer’s attention after a neighbour found that it had been shared from a personal Facebook account to a page for complaints against domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Attached to the post was an Indonesian caption meaning “taking shower for baby”.
The mother identified her three children in the video and a police report was made. The video was deleted two days later.
When confronted, Yuni told her employer that it was the children who had recorded the video for fun.
Yet the girl recounted to police that she did not consent to the recording and that she had never played with Yuni’s phone.
Yuni later told police that she had posted the video by accident, but maintained it had been taken by the children using her phone.
The incident prompted calls for more training and better guidelines to help overseas domestic workers understand the cultural differences between their home countries and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong migrant worker group calls for more training after helper is arrested for video of children in shower
In mitigation, Yuni apologised to the family through her lawyer. The lawyer told the court Yuni underestimated the consequences of her actions, and regretted them since it cost her, her first job in the city, which the widow had taken up to support her two children in Indonesia.
A letter from the victims’ family revealed that Yuni had performed well in her job since starting with them in 2016 and that they had since forgiven her.
However, Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen said it was a serious case aggravated by Yuni’s breach of trust and infringement of the children’s privacy, as well as the fact that it was posted on Facebook for everyone to see.
“Imprisonment is appropriate,” he said.
He adopted a sentence starting point of 4½ months in jail, before reducing it by one-third to credit Yuni’s guilty plea.
Obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.