NEWS – In Torture Trial, Defence Suggests Helper’s Injuries Were Caused By Acne


From Meredith McBride of the HK Helpers Campaign. For more of day one of the trial, click here.

The second day of the trial against Law Wan-tung continued on Tuesday with Erwiana Sulistyaningsih returning to the witness stand. Law – who is accused of torturing her helper Erwiana, faces 20 charges – including actual bodily harm with intent and criminal intimidation.

Erwiana shared further details with the court about her life in the home of Law Wan-tung. She told the court that she was punched in the mouth, causing her teeth to break, and was sometimes hit in her sleep. She also shared details about an incident in which she alleges Law stripped her naked, sprayed her with cold water from the shower and switched on a fan for several hours.

“I had to sleep on the floor” Erwiana told the court as she described her living conditions in Law’s flat.

A rally in March

A rally in March

Graham Harris, defence counsel for Law, took up cross examination of Erwiana. Harris accused her of being “deliberately vague” on the dates that the alleged abuse took place. He put to Erwiana that her allegations were “either completely untrue or were gross exaggerations” in order to cause trouble for her former employer.

The defence questioned why Erwiana had not spoken to a friend of Law’s son when they were alone together in the home. Erwiana told the court that Law threatened to kill her parents in Indonesia if she spoke to anyone. Erwiana recalled her employer’s words for the court in Cantonese, claiming that Law said that her husband had many friends in Indonesia.

Pictures of Erwiana's alleged abuse, via Apple Daily

Pictures of Erwiana’s alleged abuse, via Apple Daily

The court was shown photos of Erwiana’s hands and feet, which she said had developed rashes after moving to Hong Kong. The defence counsel suggested that the marks on Erwiana’s hands, feet and back were caused by acne.

The defence also suggested that marks depicted in evidence photographs on Erwiana’s head could have been caused by bumping her head on the top bunk while cleaning the bottom bunk in the children’s room.

The prosecution is slated to call seventeen more witnesses, including the domestic worker who met Erwiana at the airport, a China Airlines staff member, and several doctors.

A rally outside court on Monday

A rally outside court on Monday

After hearing these testimonies, Judge Amanda Woodcock will decide whether the prosecution, led by Louisa Lai Nga-man, has enough evidence to continue with the trial. If the evidence is sufficient, the defence will have an opportunity to call witnesses.

The trial resumed this morning. Follow Meredith McBride of the HK Helpers Campaign for updates.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih Justice Centre