Hong Kong woman found guilty of assaulting Indonesian maid in landmark mistreatment case

Photos circulated showing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih bruised and underweight

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The Independent Online

A Hong Kong woman has been found guilty of assaulting her Indonesian maid, in a case that raised the plight of migrant workers across Asia and the Middle East.

A judge on Tuesday found Law Wan-tung guilty of 18 charges of assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages or give time off work to Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

Ms Sulistyaningsih had accused Law of a catalogue of abuse over a six-month period before being sent home to Indonesia.

Her case gained widespread attention after photos of her injuries circulated in Hong Kong. They showed her face, hands and legs covered with scabs and lacerations and blackened skin around her feet.

The court heard that Law punched Ms Sulistyaningsih in the mouth, fracturing some teeth; jammed a metal vacuum cleaner tube in her mouth, cutting her lip; and hit her on the back with a feather duster when she was sleeping.

Law also allegedly forced Ms Sulistyaningsih to stand naked in the bathroom while she splashed water on and pointed a fan at her.

Her father told the South China Morning Post that his daughter returned home to their farm covered in bruises and underweight.

“She said she could not take the pain anymore. She was having a huge headache. I told her not to worry about the expenses and I drove an hour to take her to the hospital,” he said.

District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock said that based on the testimony by the maid and other witnesses. She told the court: "I am sure the defendant did assault, wound and threaten (Ms Sulistyaningsih) as charged."

Law was found not guilty of two other charges. She was ordered to pay about 48,000 Hong Kong dollars (£4,000) in outstanding wages to Ms Sulistyaningsih and is scheduled to be sentenced on 27 February.

After the verdict, supporters applauded the diminutive Ms Sulistyaningsih, who was in court. She told reporters outside that she was happy "because I will get the justice from Hong Kong."

Additional reporting by Associated Press