Indonesian maid hospitalised after Hong Kong torture: Report

HONG KONG (AFP) - An Indonesian maid has been hospitalised in her home country after allegedly being tortured by her Hong Kong employer, a report said late on Monday.

The city's police confirmed that a case of alleged torture of a foreign domestic helper was received on Jan 12 and was made by the helper's employment agency.

"On the afternoon of Jan 12, the police received notice from an domestic helper recruitment firm, that a foreign domestic helper was suspected of having been tortured by her employer," a police statement sent to AFP late on Monday said.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said the helper went back to her native Indonesia on Jan 10, where she has been in "critical condition" at a hospital.

The paper quoted local migrant groups saying she could have been abused for up to eight months after arriving in Hong Kong in May of last year.

The helper, identified as Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, needed the help of a friend to walk her through the city's airport due to cuts and burns on her body, legs and feet, according to the SCMP.

The paper further reported that the 23-year-old had only been given HK$100 (S$16) and a t-shirt by her employer and was requested not to speak to other Indonesians before boarding the plane.

Hong Kong is home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly South-east Asian countries - predominantly Indonesia and the Philippines - with growing criticism from concern groups over their treatment.

Amnesty International in November condemned the "slavery-like" conditions faced by thousands of Indonesian women who work in the Asian financial hub as domestic staff and accused authorities of "inexcusable" inaction.

It found that Indonesians were exploited by recruitment and placement agencies who seize their documents and charge them excessive fees, with false promises of high salaries and good working conditions.

A Hong Kong couple were jailed in September for attacks on their Indonesian domestic helper, which included burning her with an iron and with a bike chain.

The couple was branded as "cruel" and "inhumane" by the trial judge.

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