An online video of an Indonesian domestic helper being scolded, assaulted and having her life threatened by her female employer sparked an investigation by Hong Kong police on Thursday.
In a clip posted on the Facebook page of Time News International, a Cantonese-speaking Chinese woman is seen grabbing the helper by her neck to shake her, and covering the employee’s mouth during an argument. The clip has received more than 290,000 views.
Police arrested the 79-year-old woman in Wong Tai Sin on Thursday for common assault and criminal intimidation.
The 12-minute video shows the elderly employer in a dispute with the helper, 35, over the quality of her work, in the Indonesian’s bedroom. The helper argues back in Cantonese, saying she is being critisised over trivial matters and accusing her employer of being mad.
She lies on her bed and does not want to talk further, but that enrages the employer, who grabs and shakes her briefly while beating her, saying: “I really want to kill you. I’ll die with you.” The helper answers back: “I won’t.”
The employer then leaves the room but comes back just as the helper is muttering something in her native language.
She then pulls the helper’s hand, saying she is taking her to the police station. The helper refuses and is hit again.
The employer continues to berate her: “Scold me what? Scold me in Chinese. You make me very angry.” She covers the helper’s mouth while beating her.
Before leaving the room at the end of the video, the employer turns to say: “I would hack you to death if I don’t have to be sent to jail.”
The events in the video sparked widespread condemnation from Facebook users.
“Poor lady, report her to police so that cruel granny can learn her lesson. Very cruel. Inhuman!” one viewer commented.
Another user said: “Both of them have issues. The helper keeps talking back ... But [the employer] is also in the wrong. She can’t control her anger, and she should know Hong Kong law – it’s physical abuse. I can’t judge by this short video.”