Maid assaulted for serving half-cooked meal

Published by rudy Date posted on July 4, 2009

A FILIPINO maid was grabbed by the hair, had her head pushed to the floor and was ordered to bow 100 times for serving up a partly cooked meal, the Tsuen Wan Magistrates Court was told yesterday.

Her employer Henry Kwok Wai- keung, 42, was fined HK$5,000 and ordered to pay his maid Julieta Binggas Selga HK$3,000 as compensation after he admitted one count of common assault.

But deputy magistrate Li Chi-ho adjourned the sentencing of Kwok’s wife, Wan Sau-yee, to July 16 pending probation and community service reports, but warned she could face a stiffer penalty as her part in the maid’s punishment was more serious.

Kwok, a salesman, and Wan, 37, a secretary, have a seven-year-old son.

Wan admitted two counts of assault causing bodily harm and was allowed bail.

The court was told that on March 23, as a result of the half-cooked meal, Wan grabbed Selga’s shirt and slapped her three times on the head and face. When her husband returned at 7 p.m., he rolled up a newspaper and used it to hit the maid’s neck and head.

An hour later, the wife ordered the maid to bow repeatedly and then grabbed her hair and pushed her head against the floor.

The couple was arrested after the maid made a report to police the next day.

In mitigation, the defense claimed the assault happened on the night the couple planned to celebrate their wedding anniversary with a meal.

Wan became angry when she found the maid preparing to feed her son with food that was not thoroughly cooked.

The defense said it was the second time the maid had made the same mistake.

Hong Kong Employers of Domestic Helpers Association chairman Joseph Law said it was the first time he had heard of employers punishing domestic helpers in such a way.

“Our association is strongly against employers using illegal means to express their dissatisfaction with a maid’s performance, especially the humiliating use of kowtows,” Law said.

He stressed if employers were not happy with a domestic helper, they should clearly state what they expected and that if the maid failed to comply, they should give her a written letter before sacking her. In no way should they use physical force.

Law said new employers uncertain about how to instruct their maids could seek the association’s advice. –Manila Standard Today

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