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Migrant support groups demand swift justice for Eden

13 June 2021

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

AMCB's announcement of a Jun 11 press conference to call justice for Eden

Friday, Jun 11, was Eden P’s 37th birthday. Instead of celebrating, she had to go early to Hong Kong Immigration to submit a report on how her former employer had allegedly detained her at home since she arrived there in September 2020, and subjected her to repeated assaults.

In the afternoon, she went to the Labour Department to also file a report on the events that made her flee the 35-year-old employer’s house in Serenade Cove, Tsuen Wan on May 30, and inform the office that she would be helped by a human rights lawyer in pursuing her claims.

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To cap the day, Eden was given a small dinner party at the shelter where she is staying temporarily, a small way of assuring her that she is finally free of the nightmare of the past 14 months.

But even more importantly, her case was taken up on the same day by various migrant support organizations which have vowed to help her pursue justice for the alleged assault and illegal detention committed against her by her employer, who is a secondary school teacher and mother of two young boys.


In a press conference hosted by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, the rights advocates likened Eden’s case to that of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, the Indonesian domestic worker who suffered eight months of torture at the hands of her employer back in 2014.

“Before it was Erwiana, now it is Eden. Who will be next?,” asked Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA).


AMCB said in a statement that Erwiana’s case is still fresh in the minds of many migrant workers, so Eden’s ordeal did not come as a big surprise. Still, the group said it strongly condemned the alleged abuse suffered by Eden, and called on the Hong Kong government to act fast in ensuring justice is served her.

The group’s chair, Dolores Balladares said, “The government must move fast not just to investigate the accusations of Eden against her employer, but further ensure a swift and speedy trial of her employer.”


She also urged the government to end its so-called discriminatory policies towards FDHs like the so-called “job hopping” restriction which prohibits terminated workers from processing a new work contract in Hong Kong once Immigration deems that they changed employers on a whim.

Lestari echoed the call, saying many domestic workers are abused because of the government’s anti-migrant policies like the mandatory live-in arrangement, and giving them only 14 days to remain in Hong Kong after they are terminated by their employers.

She cited what District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock had said in sentencing Erwiana’s employer, Law Wan-tung to six months in jail, that the horrific abuse that the helper suffered would not have happened if the government did not compel FDHs to live-in with their employers.

The pandemic has made the situation worse, she said, because many employers now use this as an excuse to forbid their domestic workers from taking a day-off, as in the case of Eden.

“Before it (day-off) was every Sunday, now it  has become a matter of negotiation,” said Lestari, citing the Hong Kong Labour Department’s advice to employers and domestic helpers to agree on when the worker can take a day-off, and hinting that the rest day could be spent in the employer’s home.

Lestari says getting a weekly rest day is a matter of human rights, even during pandemic

“This is about human rights, you need at least one day a week to rest,” said Lestari. She said workers are tired and need to relax with friends, or to meet new ones.

She called on the Labour Department to set up a hotline that MDWs could call if they are prevented from leaving their employer’s house or encounter any other difficulties relating to the pandemic.

Eden escaped from the house of her employer, Mrs Mak, early on May 30, while the woman, her husband and two young sons had gone out for the day. The Filipina had bruises all over her body, many of them healed or healing, but there were also two big contusions on her thighs and her abdomen which looked fresh. 

Eden said that she was badly assaulted by Mak on May 25 and 29, only because her 19-month-old ward was crying in both instances, and did not finish his food. 

The helper claimed that on both days she was slapped by her employer repeatedly on both cheeks, and on May 25, she was hit repeatedly with a metal food-turner on both her thighs and stomach.

The bruises on her thighs were caused by a metal food-turner, Eden claims

In the last incident, she claimed she was also punched hard on her chest and back, and then scratched on the face and back, causing both parts to hurt and bleed. But what really alarmed her was when Mak reportedly threatened to kill her.

In subsequent statements she made to police, Eden said that in the past, Mak subjected her to repeated assaults including banging her head against the wall, scratching her deeply in the back, and at one time, forcing her to eat congee mixed with dishwashing detergent.

Eden said her male employer, a physiotherapist, did not know of the assaults because Mak always hurt her when her husband was not around, and hit her only in parts covered by her clothes.

A police spokesperson said Shatin Police arrested the 35-year-old employer on May 31 but released her on the same day on police bail.



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