12th February, 2015
A Hong Kong woman was acquitted Thursday of slicing into her maid’s finger with a knife, in the latest case to highlight concerns about the abuse of foreign domestic workers in the international financial hub.
Ngan Suk-wai, 40, was accused of attacking Anis Andriyani with a knife on February 24 last year when the Indonesian maid tried to stop the household’s dog from barking by shooing it with a broomstick.
Prosecutors had alleged that Ngan then dragged Anis to the kitchen, slammed her hand onto a chopping board and sliced into the 26-year-old’s left ring finger.
But District Court Judge Gary Lam said there was insufficient evidence to prove the claims, adding that the wound went too far round Anis’s finger to support her testimony of the attack.
“Her injury is indisputable, but how she was hurt and who caused it I cannot solve the mystery based on what was presented,” he told the court.
Ngan whooped for joy at hearing the verdict, shouting “now we know the truth” to the court.
She had faced up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Speaking to reporters outside, Ngan said the verdict proved that “not all employers are bad people,” and said she had been “traumatised” by the trial.
The verdict comes just days after a Hong Kong woman was convicted of beating and starving her Indonesian maid in a case that has shone a spotlight on the plight of the city’s 300,000 domestic helpers.
While foreign maids in Hong Kong are guaranteed wages and benefits rare elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East, critics say the case of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih shows how laxly such rules are enforced.
Mother-of-two Law Wan-tung was on Tuesday convicted of beating and starving the 24-year-old for months — to the point where she was hospitalised — in a case that sparked outrage in Indonesia and shocked Hong Kong.
A 2013 survey of more than 3,000 foreign domestic workers in the southern Chinese city found that nearly a fifth said they had experienced physical abuse, and 58 percent that had suffered verbal abuse.