Helper with baby accuses former employer of rape

An Indonesian domestic helper is suing her former employer for HK$91,000 in medical fees and an unspecified amount of compensation for raping her. She subsequently gave birth to a baby girl.

Her employer, Shum Shing-lam, was earlier charged with four counts of sexual offense but the prosecution withdrew after a few court hearings.

In a writ filed with the District Court, the helper accused Shum of breaching the Sex Discrimination Ordinance by raping and sexually assaulting her.

The helper said she started working for Shum and his wife on February 8, 2021, and was supposed to be employed for two years.

However, she was assaulted by Shum on the second day of work, the helper said.

When she was performing kerokan - a form of massage in which a tool is used to scrape people's skin - and massaging Shum, he touched her inner thigh and asked her to keep quiet.

The helper also said Shum squeezed her breasts while she was sleeping on the sofa at 3am on February 10 and penetrated her private parts with his fingers. He covered her mouth when she cried for help, she added.

She moved to the rooftop to sleep after another alleged sexual assault on February 11.

However, Shum raped her a few days later and she was confirmed pregnant two months later, the helper claimed. "She did not consent to any of the sexual assaults or to the rape," the writ said.

The helper said she told Shum's wife about the incident but was told to have an abortion. The wife forced her to take the abortion medicine in front of her but the helper pretended to swallow them before spitting them out.

On November 29, 2021, the helper gave birth to a baby girl at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

She was charged at least HK$91,000 by the hospital as a non-eligible person as she was no longer employed by Shum, the helper said, adding Shum is the biological father of the child.

She asked Shum to pay the wages she would have earned up to the end of her two-year employment contract, the HK$91,000 obstetric costs and other medical fees incurred as a result of her pregnancy and the psychological harm caused by Shum.

The helper also demanded compensation for the injury to feelings, dignity, loss of liberty, pain and suffering.

She reported the rape to the police and gave statements, and Shum was later charged with four counts of sexual offenses including rape. However, the prosecution withdrew them before trial after Shum appeared in court in May, during which his lawyer claimed Shum had sex with the helper with her consent.

The helper had also filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission earlier, but the commission also stopped the investigation as the it was lodged more than 12 months after the incidents occurred, the writ said.