Friday, 30 March 2012

Shandong workers driven to despair!

Aaron Ngui newsdesk@thesundaily.com


GEORGE TOWN (March 28, 2012): Driven to despair by alleged ill-treatment from her employer, a mother of two from China tried to take her life on Tuesday afternoon by jumping off the busy Jalan Aziz Ibrahim flyover.

Wang Li Mei, 38, was however persuaded by police, who had been alerted by passers-by, to change her mind.

She was among four women from Shandong province in China who came to Penang three years ago to work as reflexologists and who claimed to have been mistreated and their pay withheld by their employer.

The other women are Duan Li Hong, 23, Jiang Yong Ken, 38, and Zhang Ying, 38.

Speaking on their behalf, Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin said the final straw for Wang was when she tried to get her pay, which had been withheld since last December, but was rebuffed.

"She was so upset that she resorted to this desperate act," he told a press conference today after their plight came to light following the incident.

Sim said the four were owed more than RM10,000 each by their employer and claimed they had to work "day and night" from 11am to 1am at the centre near the popular Queensbay Mall here.

He said the four were also not allowed to go anywhere and were only given 45 minutes twice a week to shop for groceries.

"They have to sleep in the centre which is locked from the outside and they do not have a key to exit the building," he said.

All four have since lodged police reports.Sim urged employers to treat employees with respect and dignity.

He said an application for a protection order would be made at the magistrate's court and he would contact the Chinese embassy to assist the four.

When approached, Wang said she missed her two daughters, aged 10 and four, very much.

"I came here to work to lighten my family's burden. Now I just want my money and to go home," she said.

South-west district police chief Supt Mohd Hatta Mohd Zin, when contacted, said police were investigating the case under section 13 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2007.

Boss who allegedly ill-treated Shandong workers out on bail

By WINNIE YEOH  winnie@thestar.com.my

BALIK PULAU: The man who had allegedly mistreated his four Shandong workers at his reflexology centre in Bayan Baru has been released on bail.

The 36-year-old was earlier detained for two days at the Southwest District police station here. Balik Pulau OCPD Supt Mohd Hatta Mohd Zain said investigations were still ongoing.

Four Chinese nationals, Duan Li Hong, 23, Wang Li Mei, Jiang Yong Fen and Zhang Ying, all aged 38, had lodged police reports against the man for mistreating them over a period of three years.

They claimed that they had to work 364 days a year and had not been paid since December.

When Wang resorted to attempting suicide, the man brushed aside the threat, telling her to “go ahead”.

He even offered to inform the Chinese Embassy after her death. Frustrated, Wang tried to jump off an overhead bridge along Jalan Aziz Ibrahim but was stopped by policemen

The four have been sent to a women's protection centre in Kuala Lumpur and will stay there for 14 days to facilitate investigations. Meanwhile, the man, who wished to be known only as Lim, denied mistreating the four.

“They earned about RM1,800 a month and they were not locked up in their workplace at night.

“There are two more Indonesian workers staying there and the key is left at the counter,” he said. He also denied that he had told Wang to “go ahead”.

“I don't know how she cooked up the story. I do have a CCTV footage showing Wang and Duan having a fight in the shop on the same day when Wang threatened to jump off the bridge. I was having a meeting in Tanjung Tokong at that time.”

Lim also claimed that he had helped Duan to send RM60,000 back to China over the past 18 months.

“I keep the receipts of every transaction. I don't know how she could have so much of money,” he added. 

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