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Indonesian helper ‘tortured’ by employer, says migrant support group

27 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The Indonesian helper shows off her injured foot and hand (Mission photo)

An Indonesian domestic worker was hit repeatedly with a fishing rod by her male employer, leaving her with punctured hands. At another time, the same worker was left to cope with a large, open wound for two days, after a heavy aquarium she was made to carry fell on her foot.

These were just two of the alleged instances of abuse that the unnamed Indonesian worker was made to suffer, said the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body in a statement issued today, Jun 27.


AMCB is due to hold a press conference this coming Tuesday, Jun 29, to give more details on the Indonesian domestic worker’s harrowing plight.                                                                                  

Before she was rescued on Jun 24, reportedly by a partner organization of the Mission for Migrant Workers, the Indonesian helper was “tortured to the point of disfigurement,” said the AMCB.

The aquarium incident reportedly happened when the male employer ordered the helper to carry a heavy aquarium all by herself, despite the presence of three fellow Indonesian workers in the same household. She dropped the aquarium, causing a huge open wound on her foot which was left untreated until two days later, when she was taken to a clinic to get stitches.


In the earlier incident, the male employer reportedly got angry with the way the worker was fixing his fishing rod and decided to punish her. The employer told the helper to put out her hands, then repeatedly hit them with the fishing rod, causing the attached hook to puncture and leave holes on her skin.

Mission case officer Johannie Tong said the worker was one of four Indonesian domestic workers hired by a local family occupying a four-floor village house in the New Territories West. The family reportedly owned 65 dogs and kept several fishes in aquariums.

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Police were called after the male employer reportedly grabbed the worker by the hair and dragged her out to the front yard on the day of the rescue. “He was still yelling and kicking the victim, so her fellow worker called the police,” Tong said.

All four workers left the household after that, and are now being looked after in a shelter and a boarding house.


Tong said all the workers complained of working long hours, like between 4am and 1am the next day, and not being allowed to take a day off. Each worker was assigned to a floor of the village house, and they were not supposed to interact with each other while at work. They had worked for the employers for between four months to two years.

Mission founder Cynthia Tellez with Erwiana, whose abuse by her employer made headlines all over the world

The latest case comes just two weeks after Filipina domestic worker named Eden fled her employer’s house in Tsuen Wan, claiming of repeated assaults by her female employer said to be a high school teacher.

Eden’s photos taken by her concerned fellow workers showed her with large contusions on her thighs and stomach, where she said she was hit by a metal food turner by her employer. She also bore long and deep scratch wounds on the back and front parts of her body, as well as pinch marks all over her trunk.


The Mission says it is alarmed and appalled by the “marked increase” in the abuse committed against migrant workers during the pandemic, and has called yet again for a review of the live-in requirement for them, saying this is the main reason for the problem.

It cited a study published in its Service Report 2020, which showed a two-percentage point increase in physical abuse of migrants compared with the previous year. Sexual harassment or abuse surged even more, with the number tripling in 2020.

“Hong Kong society should ensure that the workers here are always treated humanely,” said the Mission. “Both the Philippine and Indonesian governments should act swiftly to protect their workers against slave-like treatment and ensure that victims are provided redress and attain justice.

Tong said the Mission has not been told whether the Indonesian’s male employer and alleged abused has been arrested by the police.
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