'Tortured' Indonesian maid returns to Hong Kong

Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (C), accompanied by Hong Kong Airport Authority personnel, police and representatives from the Indonesian Consulate, walks out from a special exit upon her arrival at the Hong Kong Airport April 7, 2014.

HONG KONG - An Indonesian maid allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer returned to the city on Monday for a medical examination to help the investigation of a case which sparked angry protests.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, was whisked through the airport surrounded by a dozen police officers, as several activists shouted "Justice for Erwiana!"

The Indonesian consulate said she would undergo a full medical examination during her visit lasting about a week and stay in accommodation provided by Indonesian authorities.

"We will provide full assistance to Erwiana. It is the duty of the consulate of her own country," said Sam Aryadi, vice consul for public affairs.

Sulistyaningsih was reportedly abused over a period of eight months while working in Hong Kong and was in critical condition on her return to Indonesia in January.

One of her doctors there said at the time the mistreatment included having her head smashed repeatedly against a wall.

The case sparked renewed concern, including from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, about the treatment of domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

Thousands of them took to the streets in January to demand justice for Sulistyaningsih.

Her former employer, 44-year-old Law Wan-tung, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Sulistyaningsih.

Law was also charged with common assault and four counts of criminal intimidation - charges related either to Sulistyaningsih or to her two previous Indonesian domestic helpers.

The Asian financial hub is home to nearly 300,000 maids, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines, and criticism from rights groups over their treatment is growing.

Last September a Hong Kong couple were jailed for savagely assaulting their Indonesian domestic helper, including burning her with an iron and hitting her with a bicycle chain.

Amnesty International in November condemned the "slavery-like" conditions faced by thousands of Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong and accused authorities of "inexcusable" inaction.