Law Wan-tung, the former employer who abused Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, has been ordered to pay nearly HK$810,000 by the District Court.

Law, 45, is serving a six-year jail term after being found guilty in 2015 of assaulting Erwiana and another domestic worker. On Thursday, the court handed down the judgment after Erwiana sought HK$809,430 in compensation for injuries caused by Law.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih. File Photo: Erwiana, via Facebook.

Law was not represented by a lawyer. During the hearing, Law questioned whether Erwiana exaggerated her injuries. She said in defence that the injuries on Erwiana were not caused by her.

Erwiana told the court that she still needs to attend counseling sessions as she continues to be troubled by the memories of torture. Her lawyer said that she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Erwiana suffers from chronic headache and eye pain, as well as emotional issues and low self-confidence, the court heard.

Handing down the judgment on Thursday, judge Winnie Tsui said Law was not only trying to inflict pain on Erwiana, but she also intended to make her employee lose all sense of dignity so that Erwiana would become obedient, local media HK01 reported.

In 2015, Law was convicted of 18 charges, including assault and criminal intimidation. She was fined HK$15,000 in addition to the six-year jail sentence.

Law Wan-tung Erwiana
Law Wan-tung. File

She later applied for legal aid to appeal the sentence, but her request was denied.

She then lodged a judicial review challenge against the Legal Aid Department’s decision. However, her application was turned down last year and she was ordered to pay HK$200,000 in legal costs.

Last year, Law said that she was bullied by fellow inmates. Her family have maintained that she is innocent and claimed that the domestic worker’s injuries were a result of her skin condition.

See more: ‘Nothing has changed’ says abused Hong Kong maid Erwiana

The case of Erwiana went viral globally in 2014, and she became the face of a movement to advocate changes for more than 300,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Erwiana now helps domestic workers facing abuses by putting them in touch with NGOs in different countries.

She told AFP earlier that campaigners must not give up despite the many hurdles facing them. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one will,” she said.

Correction 7.12.2021: A previous version of this story misstated that Law was found guilty of assaulting three domestic workers. She was guilty of assaulting two and was acquitted of charges related to a third one.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp
2023 fund hkfp
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

contact hkfp
SMALL hong kong free press hkfp logo

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.