Erwiana ‘very sad and disappointed’ after her abuser is released

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Migrant groups score the early release from prison of Law Wan-tung, the employer convicted of abusing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, during a press conference in Jordan this afternoon (Nov. 22).


Erwiana Sulistyaningsih this afternoon (Nov. 22) expressed disappointment after her former Hong Kong employer who was convicted of torturing her was released early from prison.

In audio message present during a press conference in Jordan, Erwiana noted that her former employer, Law Wan-tung, had yet to pay the $809,430 in civil damages owed the Indonesian domestic worker.

Law was sentenced in February 2015 to six years in prison but it was discovered on Wednesday that she was released from prison a few months ago under an early release scheme for prisoners.

“I feel very sad and disappointed when I learned that my former employer, Law Wan-tung was released from jail earlier than actual imprisonment that she had to serve,” Erwiana said.

“The six years sentence is not even adequate for terrible crimes that she committed against me and the other victims,” she said.

“She not only tortured me, held me captive, denied my rest, and refused to pay me any wages. She also deliberately sent me home in a secret manner to cover up her crimes,” she added.

The Justice for Erwiana and All Migrant Domestic Workers Committee urged Hong Kong authorities to “explain and make public why” Law was granted an early release after “just serving a little over half of her prison sentence.”

“Since her incarceration, (Law) has not shown any (remorse) and has completely refused to acknowledge the court-proven facts of torture she did to Erwiana,” the committee said in a statement.

Law was convicted on February 10, 2015 of 18 counts of assault, criminal intimidation, and failure to pay Erwiana’s salary and to allow her holidays.

The judge said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Law punched Erwiana in the face, which fractured two of her front teeth; hit her on the head, causing the worker to fall and lose consciousness; and inserted the metal tube of a vacuum cleaner into her mouth, cutting her lips.

The District Court later ordered Law to pay Erwiana $809,430 in damages but the Indonesian worker said she had yet to do.

Law was also convicted of assaulting another Indonesian domestic worker, Tutik Lestari Ningsih, and was told to pay $170,000 in damages. The defendant also owes the Hong Kong government $200,000 in legal costs.

“As a human being with a heart and (who) does not wish to hold resentment, it is my hope that Law Wan-tung can admit to her wrong doing, apologize to the victims, and resolve to never do the same thing to anyone ever again,” Erwiana said.

“Apart from that she must also pay the overdue compensation that I and other victim deserve,” she said.

“Finally, I hope that the Hong Kong government will immediately reform the unfavorable regulation on migrant domestic worker and ensure that there are no move victims of violence and slavery in Hong Kong,” she added.

Cynthia Tellez, general manager of Mission for Migrant Workers, said that they were consulting their lawyers to determine what legal action to take after Law’s early release from prison.