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Police say employer of Indonesian helper charged with rape, indecent assault

30 June 2021

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

Putri tells her story via video link (behind the panelists) at the press conference

Police say they have filed one count of rape and three of indecent assault against the male employer of Indonesian domestic worker Putri, who revealed her plight in a news conference organized by the Asian Migrant Coordinating Body on Tuesday, Jun 29.

According to a police spokesperson, the 44-year-old man was charged in Tuen Mun court on May 21 after Putri filed a police complaint two days earlier. As far as they know, the case is ongoing, said the police.

Putri, 29, told her story via a video link during the press conference, with her back toward the camera. She alleged that she was raped twice by her male employer on Feb 11 this year. The day before he allegedly molested her after his wife told Putri to give him a massage.


The Indonesian worker said she found out that she was pregnant in March 2021 after her female employer took her to a doctor when she became seriously ill.

That was when her “Ma’am” learned about the alleged rape. But instead of getting angry with her husband, the female employer reportedly told Putri to get the baby aborted. She resisted.

Putri, who is married and has a daughter back in Indonesia, was able to get help only after she got sick again on Apr 25 this year, and asked to have a day-off. She used the chance to ask a friend to find help for her.

With the assistance of the Mission for Migrant Workers, Putri was able to leave her employers’ house on May 9, 2021, and report her case to Yuen Long Police.


She said she did not immediately tell her Madam about the rape because she was ashamed and did not want to be sent back home. “I really wanted to work to give my daughter a better life,” she said during the press briefing.

But after the alleged rape, Putri said she insisted on sleeping on the rooftop, even if she was only given two blankets to lay on, and another blanket to cover her, in the dead of winter.

Putri said it was not just the rape she had to cope with. In the three months that she lived with the couple in their Yuen Long home, she worked for 18 to19 hours on average. She woke up at 5:30 am and slept at 12 midnight.

The house had only one room, so Putri had to sleep on a sofa in the living room. That meant that she could rest only after her employers had finished watching TV. It also left her very vulnerable to abuse.

Sely bravely recounts her ordeal in front of the cameras

Another Indonesian migrant worker, 25-year-old Selly, bravely faced the press to share her own tale of sexual abuse. She said her 55-year-old male employer began kissing and fondling her in January this year, barely a month after she moved into his house which he shared with his wife and two grown up children.

Selly said she often cried during that time as “Madam” often scolded her, and even pulled her shirt and pants and hit her on the head once. “Sir” calmed her down, but over time, began kissing and hugging her, and holding her buttocks.

“All these incidents happened in the bathroom or near the TV downstairs on the ground floor and he always made sure that Madam was upstairs when he sexually assaulted me,” said Selly, reading off a statement written in Bahasa.


“I was very angry and felt that I was taken advantage of but I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I did not know the Hong Kong regulation and had no friends to help at the time.”

Like Putri, Selly said she was made to work 17 to 18 hours on average daily. She also was not allowed to take a day off in the first three months of her employment, and she was made to sleep in a storage room.

And like Putri and two other foreign domestic workers who shared their tales of woe at the conference, Sely was not given help by her employment agency, which reportedly told her she would be sent back to Indonesia if she wanted to change employers.

Worse, the agency reportedly made her sign an agreement in April, where her male employer reportedly promised not to sexually harass her again, and in turn, she agreed not to tell his wife. She was also asked to delete the video she took of her employer’s predatory acts. She did not.

But two months later, the employer started kissing and hugging her again, until it became a daily occurrence. He even allegedly tried to get inside the bathroom while she was taking a shower, and even tried to force his way into her room at night.

On June 25, she was suddenly allowed to take a day off, so she took the chance to go to the Mission for help. She has not returned to her employers’ house since, and is now preparing to file a complaint with the police.

Herlina faces the press five days after she fled her 'abusive' employer in Tuen Mun

A third Indonesian worker who was at the press con to share her tale of grief was Herlina, whose tales of abuse at the hands of her male employer who lives on Ng Lau Road in Tuen Mun was widely reported earlier.

Herlina, 28, personally recounted how she was forced to call the police early on June 24 after her male employer allegedly beat her up with a fishing rod, causing pock marks on her hands and forehead.

She also spoke of the time in March when she was ordered to throw away three big fish tanks. Since they were heavy, she said she asked her male employer if she could get help from three other Indonesians working in the house, but her boss said no.

Herlina said she got so tired that the third aquarium fell and broke, leaving a big and deep gash on her left foot. But it was only the next day that her female employer took her to the clinic, where her wound was patched up with nine stitches. She still bears the scars from that accident.

Herlina took a picture of her badly wounded foot after it was stitched up in March

Herlina recalled that she was allowed to rest for only one day and even if her foot was still aching, was made to resume her backbreaking work. Most days, she said she managed only five hours of sleep.

Apart from cleaning the male employer’s fishing rods, aquarium and tools, she was also made to take care of the household’s 75 dogs, eight turtles, and several fishes and birds.

Like Putri and Selly, she was not allowed to take a day off, and did not get help from her agency when she tried to reach out to them.

According to the police, the male employer was held for questioning on Jun 29 on a complaint of “common assault,” but was released on police bail. He was told to report back to the Tuen Mun Police by mid-July.

Herlina's hand with punctures from the fish hook

Also arrested but later released on police bail was the 33-year-old female employer of Filipina domestic worker Eden, whose badly bruised body due to repeated assault had shocked her fellow workers who first assisted her.

The employer, said to be a secondary school teacher, was held at Shatin Police station for assault occasioning bodily harm. But the Mission, which is helping Eden with her cases, is pushing for the filing of more serious charges against the employer, a Mrs Mak.

According to Eden, the employer became physically abusive towards her two months after she arrived in Hong Kong to work for Mak, her husband and their two young children in their house in Tsuen Wan.

Whenever she forgot to do something, her employer would pull her hair, hit her or bang her head on the wall. The beating got worse whenever Mak’s seven-month-old baby started crying, said Eden. She said her employer would yell at her, slap or kick her, or scratch her on her face, nose, back or chest.

One abuse that stands out was when Eden said she was forced by Mak to eat leftover congee mixed with dishwashing liquid. That was only because the baby did not finish the congee.

The abuse reportedly escalated on May 25 when Mak dumped a bag of toy blocks on Eden’s head. Then, later that night, when the baby did not finish his food again, the employer slapped Eden 15 times with both hands, before getting a metal spatula, and hitting her on both thighs and her belly.

The employer also threatened to kill her, then took away her mobile phone.

Eden's bruises are shown in a photo taken the day she went to Shatin police

The same thing happened four days later, when Mak reportedly saw that Eden had put the baby’s food away after he showed no sign of wanting to eat. Mak allegedly slapped Eden repeatedly, scratched her face and back, then punched her in the chest a couple of times. She threatened to kill the helper again.

The next day, Eden decided to escape while Mak and her family were out. She went to her employment agency, which advised her to report the abuse to the police but did not inform the Consulate. The next day, Eden sought help from the Mission. The migrant support group is now helping her with her case while the Consulate has given her shelter.

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