Hong Kong: Updates & news on the case of Kartika, the abused Indonesian domestic worker
HONG KONG -
A Hong Kong couple described by the presiding judge as “cruel” and “vicious” were found guilty and sentenced to jail on Wednesday for systematically abusing their Indonesian maid over a span of two years. Judge So Wai-tak also said the actions of the couple had damaged Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe place to work.
Tai Chi-wai, 42, was sentenced to three years and three months in jail, while his wife Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, received a sentenced of five and a half years in jail. They were charged with eight counts of assault and one count of false imprisonment involving their 30-year-old domestic helper Kartika Puspitasari. They denied all charges.
Domestic worker-support groups are urging the government to scrap policies they say are contributing to the abuse of foreign workers.
The trial of a couple accused of systematically abusing their Indonesian maid heard yesterday that the maid's injuries could only have been caused by her employers. Prosecutor Fu Chong-sang said in his final submission that according to medical opinion, it was "quite impossible" that the injuries and scars found on the back of Kartika Puspitasari, 30, had been self-inflicted.
Fu then read out part of a police interview with her employer, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, in which she said Kartika had never asked to go out during the two years she worked for Au and her husband, Tai Chi-wai, 42. Au said the maid stayed in the flat even on her holidays. Au admitted she had never given Kartika keys to the flat, even when the family went on holiday to Thailand for five days last year. Fu also quoted parts of a statement made by a caretaker at the Serenity Park residential development in Tai Po. The caretaker said he saw Au and Tai move into the building with their children and Kartika in October 2010. He said he had seldom seen Kartika leave the building and that when she did, she had always been with Au or Tai. The caretaker also said it seemed Kartika was always wearing ill-fitting clothes and looked very dirty.
Deputy Judge So Wai-tak adjourned the case until September 18 for the verdict.
|English||Only employers could have injured maid, judge told||SCMP|
An Indonesian worker who says she was subjected to horrendous abuse by her employers could have caused the injuries herself, a court was told yesterday. Defence lawyer Alan So also suggested it might be possible that Kartika Puspitasari's injuries could have been the result of sadomasochism. But Dr Poon Wai-ming told the District Court the scars he had found on Kartika's body were most likely inflicted by others. Poon said the scars on the Kartika's upper back were in a horizontal pattern and therefore unlikely to be self-inflicted. He also found there were old and new scars, some perhaps six months old and others just a week old. The doctor said multiple linear scars on Kartika's legs and wrists indicated she had been bound with cable.
An Indonesian domestic worker Kartika Puspitasari was accused of lying about being subjected to beatings, threats and humiliation by her employers over two years in a bid to help her win a civil suit against the couple, but she rejected the defence claim that she made it all up.
"They're all true," Kartika Puspitasari told lawyer Alan So in the District Court after he suggested her allegations were lies.
Giving evidence in the District Court Kartika Puspitasari, 30, also made further allegations against the pair, including that she was forced to work wearing only a translucent plastic bag and a diaper. She said Tai Chi-wai, 42, and Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, had treated her normally in the beginning, but changed like “beasts” after the first three months. Kartika, who also says she was not paid for her work, said her agent had visited her soon after she started working for the couple in July 2010. But Au was always around and she had no chance to complain about the lack of pay. Au also used threats to stop her from telling anyone anything, she said. She could not telephone for help as the couple used only mobile phones.
An Indonesian worker told a court yesterday that she was forced to endure degrading, slave-like conditions while working for a couple who constantly beat her for no reason and failed to pay any wages or allow her to have holidays for two years. Kartika Puspitasari, 30, testified in the District Court yesterday against her former employers, Tai Chi-wai, 42, and Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41. The pair denied seven counts of assault and one of false imprisonment.
The court heard today about the several instances where the worker was physically abused by the defendants. The Indonesian domestic worker, Kartika Puspitasari, claims that her former employers Tai Chi-wai and his wife, Mrs. Tai, started abusing her in October 2010. Kartika explained in details how they would beat her on the head with shoes or a hanger. And they would hit her so hard that she would bleed. She recalled one instance in which they burned her arm and face with a scalding hot iron. She says that when she came to work for them, they threw away all her clothes that she brought with her from Indonesia. She was only allowed to wear old clothes given to her and wasn't allowed to wear underwear. She claims her hair was forcefully cut without reason. And after it grew out, Mrs. Tai tried to cut her hair again but the worker refused. Mrs. Tai then threatened to kill her if she didn't cut her hair.
|English||A couple of being charged of burning their domestic helper||TVB Pearl News|
|with an iron and threatening to kill her||(at time-slot 09:19)|
A couple forced their domestic worker to put on a diaper then tied her to a chair before leaving her without water or food while they went for a five-day holiday in Thailand with their children, the District Court heard yesterday. This was just one incident related by the prosecution in the trial of Tai Chi-wai, 42, and his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, who are facing one count of false imprisonment, one of assault and six of inflicting grievous bodily harm on the maid between October 2010 and October last year. The couple, who deny the charges, are also said to have beaten Kartika Puspitasari with a bicycle chain and a shoe, and scalded her on the face and arms with a hot iron.
Story Type: News