Category Archives : HK Helpers Campaign


HELPERS – Building Bans Domestic Helper Residents From Their Own Clubhouse 6

A residential building in Yau Ma Tei has attempted to ban domestic worker residents from its clubhouse as their presence may ‘induce nuisance’ and affect the rights of other residents on Sundays. The sign, addressed to employers, was posted by management company Hong Yip Service Company (owned by scandal-ridden Sun Hung Kai Properties) at their ‘No.8 The Waterloo‘ development. It told residents not to allow their helpers to use access cards during their holidays. However, domestic workers are themselves residents and – by law – have no choice but to live with their employers in the building.

Hung Yip Service Company

Hong Yip Service Company notice – click for full blingual version.

News of the policy emerged after a local resident complained to a local NGO. Asking to remain anonymous, he said “To categorise a group of people as a ‘nuisance’ based on their occupation is absolutely disgusting… What is the difference between a crowd of domestic helpers and a crowd of people who are not?” Although he said understood that having groups of visitors in the clubhouse may be undesirable, he noted that helpers have little place to go on their day off owing to their meagre salaries.


HELPERS – Gov’t Libraries Ignoring Hong Kong’s Biggest Minorities

HK Helpers Campaign320,000 Indonesians and Filipinos live in Hong Kong, the city’s biggest minorities. Yet a HK Helpers Campaign investigation found that they have only 60 books available to share in their respective languages across the entire library system. The Op-ed below responds to an SCMP story and reports on efforts by domestic workers to set up their own libraries. Support the campaign and their 3 simple, winnable campaign points.

A South China Morning Post article last week reported Hong Kong people are falling out of love with city libraries. The rampant usage of smartphones was cited for the decline in book rentals. Library officials lamented the decreasing figures and commentators criticised the cities reading culture, which has been ‘in decline for years’. On the other hand, domestic workers have been busy setting up unofficial mobile libraries across the city because the Hong Kong libraries don’t cater for their needs.

libraries ignore minorities

Since 2009, the department has expanded its library collection from 12.5 million books and multimedia materials to 13.1 million. Yet, the number of books rented fell 6.2 million over the past five years, from 61.7 million in 2009 to 55.5 million last year. A spokesperson for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which manages the public libraries told the SCMP that “professional judgement was exercised in the acquisition of books to meet the different needs of various groups, including ethnic minorities”, and the collections remained “highly popular among readers”.


HELPERS – Another Helper Escapes 9 Months of Physical & Verbal Abuse 3

A 37-year-old Filipino helper, widow and mother of two, has escaped after a nine-month ordeal at the hands of an abusive employer.

Rowena Uychiat sits with Activists

Eman Villanueva of the Justice for Erwiana Committe, Rowena Uychiat & Cynthia Abdon-Tellez of Mission for Migrant Workers this morning.

Throughout her employment, Rowena Uychiat was allegedly forced to work 21 hours a day (6am till 3am) without a day off. She claims to have been slapped, kicked, verbally abused and had her hair pulled. Rowena says her passport and HKID were illegally confiscated and that she was overcharged by her Filipino recruitment agency, having been made to pay the equivalent of HK$8,770.


HELPERS – Police & Indonesian Consulate Detain Erwiana Upon Return to HK 16

Update: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” says Lawyer.

Erwiana, the Indonesian helper who was allegedly tortured for 8-months by her Hong Kong employer, has been taken against her wishes to the Indonesian consulate after returning to the city this afternoon. Erwiana is visiting Hong Kong for a medical report related to her case. Last week, she accepted an offer of secure accommodation from the NGOs who have been assisting her. She initially resisted police efforts to take her to the consulate but was separated from her father and complied with the Hong Kong authorities after they threatened to deport her.

Eman at Hong Kong Airport

Eman and Sringatin from the Justice Committee speaks to journalists, via SCMP’s @JoannaChiu on Twitter

There were tense scenes and a heavy police presence as Justice for Erwiana Committee members gathered to greet her at the airport chanting “shame on the Indonesian authorities“. As a free, Indonesian citizen, who is not under investigation, Erwiana would normally be entitled to visit the city as a tourist for 30 days.

Activists, reporters and police gathered in Causeway Bay at the Indonesian consulate, where Erwiana arrived just before 6pm.


HELPERS – Tortured Helper Suspect in Court Today as Gov’t Refuses to Alter Rules 1

As the employer accused of torturing Indonesian helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih appears at a Kwun Tong court facing seven charges of abuse, helpers and local people gathered at the Star Ferry last night for a candlelit vigil in her name.

Despite tireless efforts by the Justice Committee, international condemnation, multiple submissions to the government calling for reform and subsequent torture cases, the Hong Kong authorities are yet to announce any change in the rules which enabled the torture of Erwiana.


HELPERS – Employer Groups Protest Against Improved Rights for Domestic Workers 9

Around 50 protesters from the Liberal Party and domestic helper employer groups gathered at government headquarters today demanding the government allow them to sack their helpers without notice.

Last month, at a government hearing, Liberal Party member Harris Yeung warned thatthere will be more pregnancies” if helpers are given the option to live away from their employers (video). Protest leader and councillor Michael Lee stood by his party’s assertion today, adding that allowing workers to ‘live-out’ would create social issues, “…such as the housing problem, such as the traffic problem. We cannot control what they are doing at night… They will do some part-time jobs, or they may even go drinking or go partying. Then they will have no energy to work for us.”

Protest leader and Liberal Party councillor Michael Lee

Protest leader and Liberal Party councillor Michael Lee

The employers claimed their needs were being neglected, chanting “we demand the government give us automatic firing rights!” and “helpers borrow money and run off!“.


HELPERS – Justice for Erwiana: Donate Directly to Her & Protest on Sunday 4

Justice for Erwiana

Donate to Erwiana directly and protest this weekend!

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih is an Indonesian domestic worker who was allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer. She says her passport was illegally retained by Chan Recruitment Agency during her 8 month ordeal. (Images of Erwiana here).

  • Daily abuse: Erwiana says she was beaten daily, burned and allowed only 2 meals of plain bread and rice per day. She was allowed to sleep only between 1pm-5pm but not at night. An allergy on her hands and legs was exacerbated by the employer, who covered the wound with clothing when the smell was unbearable. She tried to complain to Chan Recruitment Agency a month into her ordeal – they said she must pay off her debt before they would listen. Another helper who previously worked with the same employer claims she had to beg for her life and was also severely abused.
  • Inaction from authorities: No-one has been arrested – the suspects are free to flee. The police cite ‘lack of evidence’ to detain the employer. The agency are still operating while Hong Kong authorities refused a request by HK Helpers Campaign to check upon the employer’s children and ensure their safety.
  • Escape: On January 10th, 2014,  Erwiana fled home to Java – she was barely able to walk and her body was ‘covered in cuts and burns‘ She returned home with under HK$70 (US$9) and remains in hospital.
  • How was this allowed to happen? Amongst many other factors, the abuse of domestic helpers is enabled by the 2-week rule and live-in rule. Read the HK Helpers Campaign comment in the SCMP.
  • Media coverage: South China Morning PostWall Street Journal, TIME, AFP, New York Times,
Erwiana in hospital in Java this week

Erwiana in hospital in Java this week


HELPERS – Another Domestic Maid Tortured by HK Employer Flees; Hospitalised. 22

(N.B. Graphic images below) Erwiana Sulistayaniangsih, a foreign domestic helper from Indonesia, fled Hong Kong last week after allegedly being beaten by her employer in Tsueng Kwan O for months on end.

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Erwiana safe in Java

Indonesian NGO ‘Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia di Hong Kong‘ (ATKI) said that Erwiana came to the city last May and was beaten daily for 8 months with sticks and hangers for performing poorly at her job. She was released when she was no longer able to walk and was allowed to return home with HK$100. Throughout her ordeal, she was warned not to speak to any other Indonesians.

The name and address of her former employer have been published online as the photos went viral amongst HK’s Indonesian community.