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Filipina helper claiming torture by employer seeks police help

06 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap


Eden says her employer used a frying pan to hit her thighs and stomach...

...after slapping her on both cheeks an incredible 15 times

It is Erwiana all over again. But this time, it is a Filipina domestic worker who is claiming to have suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her local employer over a 14-month period.

Eden P., 36, fled the house of her employer on Sunday, May 30, all black and blue, and went to the Shatin office of her employment agency, Get Smart, the only place she knew in Hong Kong.

According to Eden, she was never allowed to leave her employer’s house in Serenade Cove, Tsuen Wan since she arrived in March last year. During that entire time, she was repeatedly scratched, slapped, punched and hit with objects by her female employer, Mrs Mak, a teacher.

Call now!

Photos taken by Eden’s fellow residents at the agency’s boarding house were reminiscent of the ordeal suffered by Indonesian helper Erwiana some seven years ago.

Two ugly contusions on her thighs, and another on her belly, were clearly prominent. Eden told Shatin Police these were caused by a frying pan that her employer had hit her with about five times on May 25.

The other photos showed obvious scratch marks on her back and front upper body, with more recent nicks on her side and one on her back.


Before hitting her with the fying pan, Eden said Mak had slapped her an incredible 15 times on both sides of her face, all because the employer’s 19-month-old baby boy was crying loudly and did not finish his congee.

Not content with this, Mak reportedly kicked Eden’s lower legs about five more times until the crying helper begged her to stop.

In a phone interview with The SUN later, Eden said her male employer, a physiotherapist, had told her Mak’s volatile behavior was caused by post-partum depression. The helper said the male employer never tried to stop his wife from hitting her.


Eden also said that was not the first time Mak had hurt her. She claimed her employer often scratched and pinched her, which was why in the photos shared by her board mates, Eden’s back was full of deep scratch marks or contusions, some of them still raw, while the others were already healed or healing.

Eden's back is full of deep scratch wounds, both old and new

Even her breasts were not spared, as there were quite a few scratch marks there as well.

In the afternoon of May 29, Mak allegedly blew up again because her baby had another crying fit and would not finish his pasta. The employer went to the kitchen and vented her ire at the helper again, slapping her face repeatedly with both hands.


Mak then allegedly punched the helper on the chest and back about five times, then scratched both sides of her face and her back, before going back to the living room.

Eden said when she checked her face, she saw both sides of her face were bleeding and her chest and back were in pain.

Her whole body bears signs of being pinched, pricked and scratched

The next day, Eden said she was left alone at home, and she seized the chance to escape.

Accompanied by a fellow agency client, Eden went to Shatin Police to make a statement, and officers accompanied her to a hospital for a medical check-up. She managed to get back to the agency shelter early the next day.

A few hours later, she reported to the Mission for Migrant Workers office in Central to seek help. Edwina Antonio, case officer and executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, offered to take her in so she could be helped with her case and get counseling service.

Eden agreed, but said her agency didn’t want her to move, saying the boarding house was what was listed as her address in the police file.

The next day, Tuesday, Eden was supposed to ask Get Maid to again allow her to move to Bethune House, but suddenly stopped communicating with Antonio and others who had offered to help her.

Where is Eden?

Failing to get the helper to respond to their call or text messages, the Mission, through Antonio and general manager Cynthia Tellez, got alarmed and sought help from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

They wanted to find out where Eden was, and what action had been done to ensure the worker’s safety.

They also asked what Polo had intended to do with the agency for not reporting the case immediately to them, considering it involved a complaint for serious physical abuse and detention of an overseas Filipino worker.

Polo’s officer-in-charge Antonio Villafuerte responded with a text to The SUN, saying the agency had already submitted a report to them. “The OFW is secured. Police investigation is going on.”

He no longer responded when asked where Eden was, and why she stopped talking to Antonio and other people who had initially helped her with her case.

The Mission and The SUN pressed on for answers, saying the worker’s safety is better assured if she was in the Consulate’s shelter or Bethune House, and not in the agency’s boarding house.

Consul General Raly Tejada, who had been apprised of the case earlier, eventually intervened, and directed Polo to respond to the queries and convene a meeting attended by ATN, the Mission and The SUN.

During the hastily arranged meeting Saturday, it emerged Eden was in the agency’s care until Wednesday, and was moved to the Consulate’s shelter only on Thursday. The agency also reported the case to Polo only after it was asked about it.

More facts emerged during meeting at POLO.

In its report, the agency also claimed its staff had accompanied Eden to the police station, an assertion which the worker herself denied.

A call to Eden also revealed the agency had told her to stop talking to anyone apart from officers at Polo, ostensibly because the police had forbidden it. She was also told she would be called to discuss her labor claims against her employer.

Tellez reacted strongly to the latter, saying settling Eden’s claims should not simply involve what is in the contract, but also compensation for the wrong that was done to her, as what the Mission had done in the case of Erwiana.

The meeting ended with a tentative agreement for Tellez and her group to see Eden at the Consulate on Sunday, but not at the shelter run by OWWA.

ATN, through Consul Bob Quintin and officer Arnel de Luna, also promised to liaise with police on whether Eden’s employer has already been arrested and what further actions will be taken in her case.

Amid the uneasy truce, the Mission officers are determined to get more time to confer with Eden to check on her well-being and to advise her on what lay ahead, both in terms of her police case and the civil case for compensation that might have to be filed on her behalf.

“She should understand what she will have to go through,” Tellez said
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