'Tortured' maid's ex-boss denies charges in Hong Kong court

A Hong Kong woman accused of torturing her Indonesian maid on Tuesday denied all the charges against her. Law Wan-tung, a 44-year-old mother-of-two, was arrested in January for abusing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, her former domestic helper. She faces charges including grievous bodily harm with intent, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages — a total of 20 counts, some of which also relate to her previous employees.

We will fight all the way to the end until Erwiana gets justice. We want to give a lesson to employers. We are not slaves. We are also human.

Eni Lestari, a spokeswoman for the group Justice for Erwiana

Erwiana, who said she suffered months of abuse, left Hong Kong in January and was admitted to hospital in Indonesia, emaciated and in a critical condition. The case highlighted concern over the treatment of domestic helpers in the southern Chinese city, sparking angry protests as well as calls for legislation to provide better protection. Hong Kong is home to nearly 300,000 maids, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines. Maids are paid a minimum wage equivalent to about US$520, an attractive sum for women fleeing poverty in other Asian countries. Time magazine in April named Sulistyaningsih as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, hailing her bravery in speaking out against her ex-employer.