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Erwiana Sulistyaningsih case: Law Wan-tung sentenced to six years in jail for abusing Indonesian maid

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Law Wan-tung, the Hong Kong woman convicted of abusing her Indonesian maid, has been jailed for six years.

Law Wan-tung was found guilty earlier this month of causing grievous bodily harm, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages.

Maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih drew global attention last year when she returned to Indonesia in need of hospital treatment.

During the trial, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih described being beaten and starved by her employer.

The case drew intense scrutiny in Hong Kong, where a significant number of families rely on domestic helpers.Law Wan-tung sentenced to six years in jail for abusing Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih

The city’s residents employ about 300,000 maids from other parts of Asia, mainly Indonesia and the Philippines.

In addition to the jail sentence, Law Wan-tung, 44, was also fined HK$15,000 ($1,934). She had faced a maximum sentence of seven years.

During the six-week trial the court heard that Law Wan-tung beat Erwiana Sulistyaningsih with various household objects and deprived her of proper food, allowing her only a small portion of rice and bread.

Law Wan-tung, a mother of two, only allowed Erwiana Sulistyaningsih to sleep four hours a night. On one occasion Law Wan-tung punched the maid so hard that her incisor teeth fractured.


Handing down the sentence, Judge Amanda Woodcock said Law Wan-tung “showed no compassion” to Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and other domestic staff.

Law Wan-tung saw them as “people that are beneath her”, Judge Amanda Woodcock said and called for an investigation by authorities in Hong Kong and Indonesia into workers’ conditions.

Twenty-four-year-old Erwiana Sulistyaningsih arrived in Hong Kong in 2013. She went home to her village in Central Java in January 2014 after working for Law Wan-tung for about eight months.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih came home beaten and bruised, too weak to walk and without any money. Her face, hands and legs were covered with scabs and lacerations. Parts of her skin were blackened and peeling.

The maid’s case has prompted the Indonesian government to look at better ways of protecting its migrant workers.

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