​HK police nab employer over ‘maid torture’

January 21, 2014 - 8:55:51 am

HONG KONG:  A Hong Kong woman was arrested yesterday on suspicion of abusing her Indonesian maids in a case that has sparked widespread outrage and drawn fresh attention to the risks faced by the migrant community.

A housewife surnamed Law, 44, was arrested at the airport when she was trying to leave for Thailand, Hong Kong police said at a briefing. 

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a 23-year-old maid who said she had been badly beaten by her employer, is recovering at a hospital in Sragen, a city in central Java, after flying out from Hong Kong in early January.

A second maid, identified only as Susi, who claimed to have been abused by the same employer, also gave a statement to police, saying she had frequently been beaten and abused.

Law was believed to have a connection with the two cases, which would be dealt with as wounding cases, the police said. No formal charges have been laid against her.

Hong Kong, an ex-British territory that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has around 300,000 foreign domestic helpers, most of them from the Philippines and Indonesia. They are excluded from a minimum wage and other basic rights and services.

Frenchman given parole

JAKARTA:  A French drug smuggler was freed on parole yesterday after more than 14 years in an Indonesian prison, a rare early release of a foreigner that raises hopes for Australian inmate Schapelle Corby.

Michael Blanc was arrested the day after Christmas in 1999 at the airport on the resort island of Bali with 3.8 kilogrammes of hash. 

The 40-year-old, who has always maintained his innocence, was originally given a life sentence under Indonesia’s tough anti-drugs laws, which provoked outrage in his native France. 

Man jailed over poisoning

BEIJING:  A Chinese court yesterday convicted a man of poisoning dumplings causing around 13 people in Japan and China to fall ill and sentenced him to life in prison, state-run media reported.

Factory worker Lu Yueting was reported to have injected the dumplings with insecticide in 2008 as a protest against his employer over pay.

Some of the contaminated dumplings were exported to Japan, where nine people fell ill, the official Xinhua news agency previously reported, while four were stricken in China.

Two bird flu deaths in China

SHANGHAI:  Two people have died from the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China’s commercial hub Shanghai, including a medical doctor, the local government said Monday, the city’s first fatalities from the virus this year.

The victims included a 31-year-old surgeon who worked at the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital, but gave no details on how he was infected.

Local media said the doctor worked in the emergency room and kept reporting for duty even though he experienced a fever for a week. He left a pregnant wife, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.

So far this year there have been at least six deaths in mainland China, according to local announcements.