By Meredith McBride of HK Helpers Campaign.
Last week, 20 immigration officers visited Ma Wan village on Park Island to arrest four domestic workers, whose crime was living under a different roof than their employers.
Two employers of one of the women were also arrested and later released on bail. The male employer told the South China Morning Post: “Some employers that have a live-in nanny make them work up to 18 hours a day and some I know don’t even get a day off.”
An immigration officer reported that the four women were arrested on suspicion of making false representations to an immigration officer. Under clause three of the standard employment contract, both parties agree that the domestic worker will live at the same premises as the employer.
According to the Hong Kong Labour Department, infringing clause three is akin to making a false representation to an immigration officer, and carries a maximum punishment of $150,000 in fines and 14 years in prison. Domestic workers accused of the same could be black-listed and deported. By contrast, in the recent trial against a local Hong Kong employer for grievous bodily harm with intent, the accused faces a maximum jail time of seven years if found guilty.