Filipino maid accuses HK employer of indecently assaulting her as wife and kids slept

Lau Sui-wo pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault at Kowloon City Court.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A Filipino domestic helper on Tuesday accused her former Hong Kong employer of traumatising her by indecently assaulting her on five occasions in six days, a court heard.

The 43-year-old helper, identified only as X in court, testified to a series of incidents which escalated from obscene gestures to physical touches in six days, after her then employer Lau Sui-wo, a 45-year-old clerk, pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault.

"Because of what he did, I feel traumatised," the helper testified through an interpreter.

Kowloon City Court heard the helper was about six months into her job caring for Lau's household at Laguna Verde in Hung Hom when the first assault allegedly took place on July 31 last year.

The trial continues before Magistrate Raymond Wong at Kowloon City Court. Photo: South China Morning Post

X said she was cleaning the furniture at 6am when Lau exposed himself while his wife and children were asleep in the bedrooms.

She said he gestured for her to come over and nodded his head towards his hand, which he held in a ring shape, as though he was inviting her to perform oral sex.

"I was afraid because the wife was there … I might lose my job," she testified. "I have kids to support. Four."

A similar flashing incident took place the next morning, X said, before Lau waved his hand for her to join him in the bathroom.

On both occasions, X continued, she ignored him and went on with her chores.

"I did not do anything, I just prayed," she said.

The alleged assault escalated the following day, with Lau touching X's breasts and rubbing himself against her buttocks while she was washing dishes in the kitchen.

"Sir, what are you doing?" X recalled she said to her employer as she pushed him away.

Lau then left the kitchen.

But X said Lau approached her again while she was picking up toys in the living room, pushing her head down towards his penis.

"I said, 'No, no, no,'" she continued. "His penis touched my nose … I wanted to cry. I want to cry."

Lau stopped when his wife finished her shower, X said.

On August 4, X said, she was sleeping on her side in the upper deck of a bunk bed shared with Lau's five-year-old daughter when she was woken up at 1am by him pulling her hair and licking her ear.

X said she wanted to shout but stopped when he allegedly said: "I will be very different if I'm angry."

She then sat up in her bed, only to see him masturbating before he left the room.

"I was trembling. I was trembling, I was afraid that he might come back," she said.

The next day, on her day off, X sought help and counselling through a pastor at the church she attended since she first came to Hong Kong in 2014.

There she signed a document notifying the Labour and Immigration departments, but was told that she should continue working for the family.

X said Lau touched her buttocks again while she was washing dishes that night.

The Immigration Department received a complaint on August 6 and alerted police two days later.

Lau, who has a clear record, was arrested at his home on August 14 but denied all allegations.

His trial continues before Magistrate Raymond Wong Kwok-fai on Wednesday.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.