HONG KONG: A former Indonesian domestic worker in a high-profile abuse case said Thursday she was “sad and disappointed” after her employer, who was jailed for starving and beating her, walked free before finishing her sentence.
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih became the face of abused maids in Hong Kong, after pictures showed how she was imprisoned, starved and violently beaten by her former employer.
Law Wan-tung was sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 for grievous bodily harm, assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages, and was ordered by a court last year to pay more than $100,000 in damages.
But Law secured an early release from prison a few months ago, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday, citing a lawyer from the city’s justice department.
Erwiana expressed her disappointment Thursday and said the six-year sentence was not enough “for the terrible crimes that she committed against me and the other victims.”
“I feel very sad and disappointed when I learned that my former employer Law Wan-tung was released from jail earlier than the actual imprisonment that she had to serve,” she said.
“She... tortured me, held me captive, denied me rest and refused to pay me any wages,” Erwiana told reporters.
“It is my hope that Law Wan-tung can admit to her wrongdoings, apologize to the victims and resolve to never do the same thing to anyone ever again,” she added.
Tutik Lestari Ningsih — another former maid from Indonesia of Law — said the news made her feel “very unsafe” because Law had previously threatened to kill her.
The Correctional Services Department said in a statement said that due to privacy regulations they would not disclose specific details.
Prison inmates can receive a one-third sentence reduction on good behavior, although Law had not yet served adequate time of her sentence for this to apply.
More than 340,000 domestic helpers work in Hong Kong — mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia — often performing menial tasks for low wages while living in poor conditions.