Tai Chi-wai, 42, an electric appliance salesman and his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, a public hospital assistant, both from Hong Kong, were sentenced to prison on Sept. 18 for abusing, beating, torturing, and even starving their Indonesian maid. The abuse lasted for two years, until the maid managed to escape the couple’s Hong Kong home last October.
The former maid, 30-year-old Kartika Puspitasari, testified that her employers beat her with a bicycle chain and scalded her face and arms with a hot iron, according to Reuters.
Kartika also said that she was left in a diaper and tied to a chair without food or water for five days while her employers went on holiday with their children to Thailand, although the judge said he believed some of this testimony had been exaggerated.
Tai Chi-wai was sent to prison for three years and three months, while his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, was sent to jail for five-and-a-half years “after being found guilty of a total of eight charges, including assault and wounding with intent.”
Hong Kong has a history of poor treatment for domestic help.
There is a law on the books in Hong Kong that requires maids to live in their employer’s home – a law that has been scrutinized recently as opponents say it exposes the domestics to potential abuse.
Hong Kong has roughly 300,000 domestic helpers, largely from the Philippines and Indonesia, but also from Nepal, India and Pakistan. They are excluded from a minimum wage and other basic rights and services.
A rally and protest was held outside the Hong Kong courtroom yesterday over the abuse of domestic workers.
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