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Erwiana’s $806k claim derailed as court declares her abusive employer bankrupt

06 December 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Five years on, Erwiana's fight for justice against Law continues

Law Wan-tung, the local employer who was jailed six years in 2015 for her horrific abuse of former Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, was declared bankrupt by the High Court today, Dec 6.

The order was issued by Master Reuden Lai Tat-cheung in a bankruptcy petition hearing attended by Law.

The order could again delay Law’s compliance with an order issued by the District Court on Dec 20, 2017 to pay Sulistyaningsih $809,430 for the “inhumane, degrading and abhorrent” treatment she suffered from the employer.


Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, general manager of Mission for Migrants which helped Sulistyaningsih pursue a civil claim for damages against Law, expressed shock about the bankruptcy declaration.

“It’s a pity for Erwiana. It’s justice delayed, justice denied for her,” said Tellez when asked for her reaction to the court order.


Tellez said she’ll wait for what Sulistyaningsih’s lawyer will say about the decision. She said the order does not put an end to the battered domestic helper’s pursuit of justice, but it would take another long process.

Once a person is declared bankrupt the Official Receiver will have the right to determine how that person’s assets should be distributed to creditors.


Also among those set to pursue a claim against Law is another Indonesian domestic worker, Tutik Lestari Ningsih, who was hired and similarly assaulted by Law earlier. The District Court sentenced Law to pay Tutik $170,000 in compensation in February 2018.

Tellez and Erwiana after the District Court granted their $800k damages claim

Law was convicted of 22 charges relating to her abuse and non-payment of the Sulistyaningsih's wages from December 2014 to Feb 10, 2015.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Eighteen of those charges involved multiple assaults against Sulistyaningsih. The rest were for her not paying the helper’s wages or not giving her rest days in the nearly seven months that the victim served her.

Judge Amanda Woodcock had Law jailed for a total of six years, but she was given early release in 2018 for reasons that were unclear.


While Law was in jail, Sulistyaningsih won her compensation claim against the employer in the District Court. The judge ruled that the money would come from Law’s share in a $7-million flat in Beverly Garden in Tseung Kwan O that she owned with estranged husband Barry Tsui.

Law had tried to avoid payment by claiming in July 2015 that she had transferred her half-share in the Tseung Kwan O flat to her husband. But after a lengthy hearing, the High Court ruled in December 2017 that the purported transfer of Law’s share in the flat was invalid.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Before the ruling, Law’s husband applied for a charging order on his estranged wife’s share in the flat, claiming that she owed him more than $3million which she used to defend herself in litigations involving Sulistyaningsih.

The High Court initially allowed the charging order but Sulistyaningsih, as a creditor, intervened and applied to have it revoked. The court allowed her application in December 2019 and revoked the charging order.


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