The most recent case involves a police officer and his wife, who after being arrested for assault were accused of treating their helper like a slave.
Tri-Agustina, 23, from Indonesia, told her employment agency she had been imprisoned in the flat since she started working for the couple six months ago and had been repeatedly assaulted with hands, knees and slippers because her employers said she did not take proper care of their nine-month-old daughter.
She had also been deprived of food ...
Tri-Agustina was told to wear a surgical mask to cover injuries to her face and was always accompanied by her one of her employers when she went out ...
The agent had not been able to contact the maid after she started work for the household because she had not been working where her employers had stated in the contract.
It's worth noting the helper doesn't speak either Cantonese or English, which would have exacerbated communication and caused a great deal of frustration, but that's not her fault: the agency never should have put her in that position.
And the imperious mindset of her employers is mystifying, considering most Chinese were subjected to it by many foreigners when Hong Kong was a British colony. In a way it's similar to the legacy of child abuse that runs in families.
I've never entertained the thought of having a domestic helper, though it seems the thing to do here. The main reason is that I grew up doing my own housework and have difficulty justifying the need. Sure, we're busy like most folks, and although it would be nice to be free of the more mundane housekeeping duties, I can't wrap my head around having another human being scrubbing our toilets.
Perhaps if we had a few kids and were swamped for time a helper would make more sense, but still it would strike me as odd. In Canada most folks did the work themselves or assigned chores to their kids as part of earning an allowance and to teach them self-reliance. Only the well-off hired housekeepers or nannies.
But they sure as heck didn't use them as punching bags.