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June 28, 2017

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HK police interview 'tortured' Indonesian maid

SRAGEN, Indonesia--Hong Kong police Tuesday interviewed an Indonesian maid allegedly tortured by her employer, who is now under arrest in the Chinese city, as Indonesia's president phoned the domestic worker to express his sorrow at the "tragedy."

The interview and phone call came a day after police in Hong Kong detained the 44-year-old woman accused of abusing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, as she attempted to board a flight to Thailand at the city's airport.

Sulistyaningsih, 23, was reportedly abused over a period of eight months while employed by the woman and was in a critical condition on her return to Indonesia earlier this month.

One of her doctors told AFP Tuesday that she was still unable to walk following the mistreatment, which included having her head smashed repeatedly against a wall.

The case has renewed concern about the treatment of maids in Hong Kong and follows a spate of abuse cases and strong criticism from rights groups.

Hong Kong police arrived late Monday in Sragen, on Indonesia's main island of Java, where the maid is in the hospital, and on Tuesday took formal statements from her.

As they arrived the maid's father Rohmat Saputro, 50, told reporters: "I am sure that my daughter will find justice."

Following interviews in the morning, Hong Kong senior police officer Li Ka-yan told reporters: "She talked about why she came to Hong Kong to work, how the employer tortured her and what she was told to do on a daily basis.

"She was cooperative and reiterated she will come to Hong Kong if police think it is necessary but it very much depends on her recovery."

Officials from Hong Kong's labor department were also due to interview her, she added.

Agus Cahyono Rasyid, an official from the Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong, added that police were taking the interview process slowly.

"If we go straight to the core of the issue, Hong Kong police fear she could be traumatized so we only asked her about things that were not sensitive," he said.

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