The district police office in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps
The district police office in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

A 47-year-old man of Chinese origin accused of physical abuse of his Cambodian maid – and owing her thousands of dollars for her work over the past nine years – was arrested by Malaysian police in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, on Friday evening.

Petaling Jaya district police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Zani Che Din said police received a report on Friday afternoon from a 27-year-old Cambodian woman named Sophal, who was allegedly a victim of long-term physical abuse. The woman had received no wages from her employer despite working as a domestic for about nine years, Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported on Monday.

Police arrested and detained her Chinese employer on the evening of the same day. He was reportedly jobless.

They plan to investigate if the man has committed an offense under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (ATIPSOM Act).

The suspect was due to appear in a Malaysian court on Tuesday, and was expected to be detained in custody.

Meanwhile, the maid was in a stable condition, the district police chief said. She had been given protection and was now staying at a shelter.

Sophal, who worked for the family as a domestic since 2008, was initially told by her employer she would be able to return home this month so that she could visit her critically ill father.

But she ran away after failing to get any progress on being allowed to resign. She told a local non-government group which provided her assistance that she was regularly beaten by her employer.

The man is estimated to owe her about 50,000 ringgit (US$11,924), which should have been deposited in the maid’s account.

But Sophal has said her bankbook and passport were both confiscated by her boss.

Read: Cambodian maid seeks help after being abused for 9 years