A Hong Kong couple left their Indonesian domestic helper without food or water after tying her to a chair and forcing her to wear a diaper while they went on a five-day vacation, a report said yesterday.
The pair, 42-year-old Tai Chi-wai and his 41-year-old wife, Catherine Au, were in court on Friday for “assault occasioning actual bodily harm,” according to the city’s official Judiciary Web site.
Tai and Au also face charges of false imprisonment, assault and six counts of inflicting grievous body harm on their former maid, Kartika Puspitasari, over a period of two years ending in October last year, the South China Morning Post reported.
The court heard the couple, who deny the charges, tied their maid up whenever they left their home or went to bed. It also heard that Au allegedly used a paper cutter on Puspitasari’s hands and stomach, and banged her head on a tap, the Post said.
The couple also allegedly beat her with a bicycle chain and a shoe, and scorched her arms and face with an iron.
Puspitasari made her escape in October shortly after she was punished for eating chicken and a piece of cake from the couple’s fridge after she was denied food for two days, the court heard.
To punish her, Tai allegedly slapped her face three times, tied up her arms and legs and pushed her into the bathroom before leaving the apartment.
After realizing the bathroom door was unlocked, Puspitasari crawled into the living room, loosened her ties and escaped to the streets, where she sought help from a compatriot and was taken to the Indonesian consulate.
The Hong Kong Judiciary and the Indonesian consulate were not immediately available for comment.
The trial continues tomorrow.
Hong Kong is home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines and Indonesia.