An Indonesian domestic helper who claims she worked for the same employer accused of torturing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih revealed yesterday that she suffered similar beatings and death threats in 2010.
Sulistyaningsih, 23, who alleges she suffered months of torture in Hong Kong, is recovering in hospital in Sragen, on the main Indonesian island of Java, after returning home last week.
Her wounds are healing but she continues to suffer from headaches caused by blows to the head, according to Karsiwen, spokeswoman for the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers who is handling the case in Indonesia.
Sulistyaningsih has become angry, saying, “I want to go back to Hong Kong and beat back my employer,” said Karsiwen, adding that Sulistyaningsih has recently appointed lawyers in both Indonesia and Hong Kong.
At a “Justice for Erwiana” protest outside the Indonesian consulate in Causeway Bay yesterday, a 28-year-old Indonesian woman who gave only her nickname, Bunga, said she experienced 10 months of beatings working for the same female employer who allegedly abused Sulistyaningsih.
“One time the employer got so angry she dragged me onto the balcony and threatened to throw me off of it. She made me beg for my life,” Bunga said.
“I told her that she could beat me as much as she wanted but I went on my knees and begged her not to kill me because I had a son.”
Bunga said she was never allowed to go outside the employer’s apartment in Tseung Kwan O, and when the family went out, Bunga was locked inside.
“The woman threatened to pay the Indonesian police money to kill my entire family if I talked to others about the beatings,” she said.
The employer is in her forties and doesn’t work, with two teenage children and a husband who is rarely at home because he works elsewhere, Bunga and campaign organisers claimed.
Bunga said she was saved when her family in Indonesia told her agency in Hong Kong to help her.
“But the agency convinced me not press charges and got me a job with another employer instead. I was too scared to go to police. I’m speaking out now because I feel so sad I didn’t do anything to help Erwiana,” said Bunga, adding that she and Sulistyaningsih did not use the same agency.
Last night, “Justice for Erwiana” campaign organizers told the South China Morning Post that Sulistyaningsih was not allowed to leave the home and that before her boss allowed her to return to Indonesia, the woman threatened to “kill her family” if she told of her treatment.
Hong Kong police have launched an investigation and classified Sulistyaningsih’s case as wounding. The city’s police officers have visited the employer’s home, as have officials from the Indonesian consulate. A police spokeswoman said today that no arrests have yet been made.
Bunga said she would consider cooperating with police in the investigation.