Tag Archives : erwiana

NEWS: A Break Through? Judge in Erwiana Case Calls for Review of Live-in Rule 2

Friday morning Law Wan-tung, the 44-year-old housewife who was found guilty of abusing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and Tutik Lestari Ningsih, was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Speaking in the Wan Chai District Court early Friday, the Honourable Judge Amanda Woodcock made ground-breaking statements slamming the live-in rule and collection of illegal agency fees as having facilitated Erwiana’s abuse.

Judge Amanda Woodcock on the 'live in rule'

Judge Amanda Woodcock on the ‘live in rule’

“In my view, such conduct could be prevented if domestic workers were not forced to live in their employers’ homes,” Judge Woodcock said. “The choice would make all the difference.”

Hong Kong Agency that Placed Erwiana Still Allowed to Recruit Domestic Workers 1

Chan’s Asia Employment Agency, which placed Erwiana with her employer Law Wan-tung, is still recruiting Indonesian helpers to place in Hong Kong homes. Erwiana was placed with her employer after two previous domestic workers left within six weeks and six months respectively. The Hong Kong Labour Department stated that it found “insufficient evidence” that Chan’s Asia had violated regulations under the Labour Department.

Ms. Lo Fung Chi was the manager of Chan’s Asia Recruitment Agency during the time in question and was a witness for the prosecution that helped find Law Wan-tung guilty of abusing Erwiana and another domestic worker. She left Chan’s Asia shortly after police took her statement in April of last year.

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On Erwiana’s contract, Chan’s Asia Employment Agency was named as her employer. Defence lawyers for Law told the court that the agency had kept both Erwiana’s passport and HKID, though the agency denied that it kept Erwiana’s documents. During the trial, the court heard that in order to send Erwiana home to Indonesia, Law lied to the agency, telling them she was taking Erwiana on a trip to China, in order to retrieve her documents from them.

The Honourable Judge Amanda Woodcock found that the testimony of two agents was “measured and deliberate” and served to avoid implicating themselves in any criminal wrong-doing.

NEWS – Justice Served: Former Employer found Guilty on 18 Charges

The packed court room broke into applause after Judge Amanda Woodcock convicted Hong Kong woman Law-Wan-tung on 18 charges for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, assault and criminal intimidation of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and Tutik Lestari Ningsih.

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“I am sure she (Erwiana) was telling the truth,” said Judge Woodcock as she read her findings the room full of journalists, activists, and friends. “I believe her testimony in its entirety,” citing credibility as a crucial issue in her findings.

“When she left Hong Kong, she was a shadow of her former self,” said Judge Woodcock, citing Erwiana’s sunken eyes, swollen eyes and faces and wounds. Some of Erwiana’s injuries were caused by prolonged exposure to water and cleaning solutions, however over a dozen other injuries were not accounted for by this explanation. The attempt by the defense to pass Erwiana’s skin problems off as acne were “desperate and fanciful constructions,” said Woodcock.

NEWS – Indonesian Authorities Pressured Erwiana to Accept Gov’t Lawyer & Help From Agency

The Justice for Eriwana Committee has confirmed that the Indonesian authorities pressured her to switch lawyers and accept a government provided legal counsel. Shortly before her return to Hong Kong for a medical report, Erwiana was asked to revoke the power of attorney given to her current lawyer in Java. She resisted intimidation and has retained legal provided by the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute in Indonesia and Melville Boase in Hong Kong.

A letter from the Indonesian authorities translated by NGOs – point 4 refers to switching power of attorney.

PRESS RELEASE: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” – Lawyer

In a statement, Hong Kong barrister-at-law Robert Tibbo has commented on the actions of the Hong Kong authorities this evening stating that “the circumstances of Erwiana’s return to Hong Kong are nothing less than shocking”. Mr Tibbo is legal advisor to the HK Helpers Campaign and also advised Edward Snowden during his visit to Hong Kong last year. Today, he spoke of a potential conflict of interests regarding the actions of the authorities…

“With Erwiana’s right to sue the Hong Kong government for breaches of Articles 3 (Torture) and 4 (Slavery) of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, Cap. 383, and in light of the respective Hong Kong Immigration and Police Department threatening and oppressive conduct of today, Erwiana should have absolute minimal necessary contact with the Hong Kong government aside from the Prosecutor in criminal proceedings instituted against her former employer.”

Erwiana accompanied by officials at HK's airport,

Erwiana accompanied by officials at HK’s airport, via Straits Times

“The respective Hong Kong and Indonesian government interests are clearly adverse to Erwiana’s rights and interests. This is case where Erwiana would be best protected by having Hong Kong lawyers stand between her and the respective Indonesian and Hong Kong governments so that the abuses of today are brought to an immediate stop. This would effectively remove the conflict of interests that exists between Erwiana and Hong Kong and Indonesian authorities”

NEWS – Police & Indonesian Consulate Detain Erwiana Upon Return to HK

Update: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” says Lawyer.

Erwiana, the Indonesian helper who was allegedly tortured for 8-months by her Hong Kong employer, has been taken against her wishes to the Indonesian consulate after returning to the city this afternoon. Erwiana is visiting Hong Kong for a medical report related to her case. Last week, she accepted an offer of secure accommodation from the NGOs who have been assisting her. She initially resisted police efforts to take her to the consulate but was separated from her father and complied with the Hong Kong authorities after they threatened to deport her.

Eman at Hong Kong Airport

Eman and Sringatin from the Justice Committee speaks to journalists, via SCMP’s @JoannaChiu on Twitter

There were tense scenes and a heavy police presence as Justice for Erwiana Committee members gathered to greet her at the airport chanting “shame on the Indonesian authorities“. As a free, Indonesian citizen, who is not under investigation, Erwiana would normally be entitled to visit the city as a tourist for 30 days.

Activists, reporters and police gathered in Causeway Bay at the Indonesian consulate, where Erwiana arrived just before 6pm.

PRESS RELEASE – Official Launch of HK Helpers Campaign


 Download press release
The HK Helpers Campaign officially launches today at www.hkhelperscampaign.com
  • Who? – 6 months in the making, we are an independent Hong Kong campaign formed by a group of local activists to promote the rights of local Foreign Domestic Workers.
  • What? – Our objective is to amplify the voices of helpers by linking them, and relevant NGOs, with those in the media, law, politics and academia. We believe helpers are the backbone of the middle class and engine of the Hong Kong economy.
  • Why? – The ultimate aim is to apply pressure to successfully achieve our three basic campaign points. To (1) scrap the ‘two-week’ law, (2) to enforce maximum working hours and (3) to end illegal agency fees. The live-in law and two-week rule discourage helpers, like Erwiana, from escaping abusive situations, whilst illegal agency fees can leave newly arrived maids in debt bondage for months on end.
  • How? – We will achieve our objectives via a public multimedia advocacy campaign and by lobbying key-players one-on-one. We also intend to pursue our campaign points through the courts with the support of our legal advisor, Robert Tibbo. Mr Tibbo is a top human rights lawyer in Hong Kong who advises Vision First. He also advised Edward Snowden and spoke about the Erwiana case in a front page South China Morning Post article today.
We have worked extensively with local stakeholders to form our 3 simple campaign points and have a comprehensive action centre at www.hkhelperscampaign.com/support-us/ along with a special justiceforerwiana.com centre. There are dozens of ways listed for the public to help enact change.We are also building a ‘For Helpers’ section www.hkhelperscampaign.com/are-you-a-helper/ This is our response to recent abuse cases and lists helplines, do/don’ts and advice in 6 languages – search engine optimised to assist domestic workers in danger or seeking help.