UK & World News
Hong Kong: Couple Jailed For Torturing Maid
A couple in Hong Kong have been jailed for torturing, beating and abusing their Indonesian maid, including tying her to a chair for almost a week.
Tai Chi-wai, an electric appliance salesman, was given three and a quarter years, and his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, a hospital assistant, five and a half years.
The pair, aged 42 and 41, were found guilty of eight charges, including assault and wounding with intent.
They repeatedly assaulted and tortured Kartika Puspitasari, 30, over a two-year period until she escaped last October.
The District Court heard she was hit with a bicycle chain and burned on the face and arms with a hot iron.
Kartika also said she was left in a diaper and tied to a chair without food or water for five days while her employers went on holiday with their children to Thailand.
The case has damaged Hong Kong's reputation as a safe place to work and the legal system needed to "send a clear message that every worker is protected by the laws", said Deputy District Judge So Wai-tak.
The Mission for Migrant Workers said last month that a survey of more than 3,000 women in Hong Kong found 58% had suffered verbal abuse, 18% physical abuse and 6% sexual abuse.
"We call on the Hong Kong authorities and policymakers to make the needed and urgent reforms that will mitigate the possibility of another Kartika in our midst," the Coalition of Service Providers for Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong said in a statement.
Hong Kong has roughly 300,000 domestic helpers, largely from the Philippines and Indonesia, but also from Nepal, India and Pakistan.
They are not entitled to a minimum wage and are excluded from other basic rights and services.
In March, a union representing domestic helpers staged a protest, calling for an end to a law that requires maids to live with their employers, saying it exposes them to abuse.