NEWS – Domestic Workers Share Their Thoughts on Occupy Central

HK Helpers Campaign volunteers Meredith McBride & Vivian Yan spoke to some of the city’s domestic worker community about the Umbrella Movement occupation protests.

Catherine, from the Philippines, has been living in Hong Kong for 3 years.

“The protesters want this fight and are against China. Maybe they can help us to make… law[s] in favour of the domestic workers? Maybe for me, I am in favour of the protesters because they really fight for their rights, for their democracy.  They make a lot of sacrifices so I hope they win.”


NEWS – Civil Servant Who Assaulted Helper Permitted to Hire Another

Former civil servant Au Wai-chun has been granted an eighteen month probation after being found guilty of causing actual bodily harm to Raksona Begum, who was working in her home in Tseung Kwan O in September of last year. Begum was hospitalised for five days after receiving first and second degree burns from a boiling cup of water Au poured on her chest.

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Au received a six month jail sentence, which was overturned after she explained to the judge that she had ‘lost her temper’. Au received support from her current domestic worker from the Philippines, who allegedly wrote to the court to ask for leniency. After the verdict, domestic worker advocates expressed their concern that a woman found guilty of assaulting a migrant domestic worker in her home would be permitted to hire another.


NEWS – Domestic Workers Receive Pay Increase… But Lose Money

On September 31st, Hong Kong’s Labour Department announced that the minimum allowable wage for domestic workers will increase by HK$100 per month. The figure is a 2.5% increase on their previous monthly salary of $4010.

The increase will only apply to new contracts signed after October 1st of this year. Domestic workers with existing contracts and those who signed contracts in the days before the announcement will have to wait until their current contract expires before obtaining the wage increase. Domestic workers who do not get food from their employers will also receive an additional $44 per month for food allowance.

via Stefan Irvine

via Stefan Irvine

The announcement was met with little joy however, as Hong Kong inflation has increased by 3.6% over the past year according to the Census and Statistics Department. The result is that domestic workers are actually earning less than they did a year ago.


NEWS – Helper’s Son, Born & Raised in HK, Barred from Gaining Permanent Residency 2

A son of a Filipino domestic worker, who was born-and-raised in Hong Kong, has lost his fight for permanent residency. Five judges at the Court of Final Appeal agreed unanimously that Joseph James Gutierrez, 17, does not qualify for permanent residency under Article 24 of the Basic Law.

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His mother, Josephine Gutierrez, has worked in Hong Kong as a helper since 1991. Joseph had been present in the city for more than 7 years, with only short gaps as he visited the Philippines. The judges said that he did not meet the criteria for being “ordinarily” resident.


APPEAL – Writer? Translator? Lobbyist? Volunteer for HK Helpers Campaign

HK Helpers Campaign VolunteerHK Helpers Campaign is a successful and much-needed platform fighting for the rights of domestic workers in Hong Kong. To continue our work, our multimedia advocacy and legal project needs more hands on deck.

Keeping up momentum

  • Over the past nine months, our campaign has worked with dozens of journalists and media outlets to raise awareness of the challenges domestic workers face.
  • Professional photographers and videographers have linked with us to help shape the debate and shine a more positive light on the local helper community.
  • Our campaign has been featured on CNN and in the Wall Street Journal, Quartz, the Guardian, the South China Morning Post and others.
  • Our website is a respected hub for breaking news, research and events information whilst our legal team is assembling cases to challenge the law.
  • We are now hosting support information for the community in six different languages.
  • This summer, we were officially registered as a society and began work on our Chinese website launch.
HK Helpers Campaign 2013-2014

HK Helpers Campaign 2013-2014

Volunteer appeal


NEWS – Judge Rejects Appeal by Couple Convicted of “Inhuman” Torture

The couple who tortured Indonesian helper Kartika Puspitasari have had their appeal rejected by a judge who called their behaviour “inhuman“. Tai Chi-wai and Catherine Au Yuk-shan were convicted of eight counts of assault last year. They received jail sentences of three years and three months, and five years and six months, respectively. During the trial, the court heard how the couple beat Kartika with hot irons, a paper cutter, a shoe, a hanger and bicycle chains.

A protest at t he Indonesian consulate last summer

A protest at t he Indonesian consulate last summer

Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, the Court of Appeal’s vice-president, said that the court had a duty to protect foreign worker’s rights. “…they used severe ways to torture another parents’ daughter [Kartika]… Hong Kong is a modern, civilised city and is serious about human rights. We will not tolerate these inhuman acts as the couple did to the victim”, Yeung said.


NEWS – Civil Servant Guilty of Causing Actual Bodily Harm to Domestic Worker

On September 1 the District Court convicted former civil servant Au Wai-chun of causing actual bodily harm to Begum Raksona, a woman from Bangladesh who did domestic work in her home. The incident occurred in September last year at Au’s home at Bauhinia Garden in Tseung Kwan O. The court heard that a dispute arose when Au became angry that a cup of water given to her by Raksona was not hot enough.

Bauhinia Garden in Tseung Kwan O

Bauhinia Garden in Tseung Kwan O, via Wikicommons


NEWS – 117 Student Activists Lobby Gov Committee to Limit Helper Working Hours 1

Student activists at International Christian School in Sha Tin have submitted 117 campaign postcards to the Standard Working Hours Committee.

students take action

The young justice advocates worked with HK Helpers Campaign to lobby the government committee to include domestic workers in Hong Kong’s upcoming legislation limiting working hours. Currently, helpers – like all local workers – can be made to work unlimited hours. Many domestic workers are indeed expected to be ‘on call’ 24/7.


VIDEO – The HK Domestic Workers Who Are Budding Writers

Whilst one local domestic worker has become a famed street photographer, others are trying their hand at writing. HKU student Peter Sabine has produced a short news piece about domestic workers who are documenting their experiences through writing. Cahaya Qu, a local Indonesian magazine run by Susie Utomo, is serving as a hub for budding writers who want to assist other helpers in putting pen to paper.

Utomo spoke last year at the Hong Kong Literary Festival, as reported by HK Helpers Campaign.