District Court in Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times

A 78-year-old woman was sentenced to one year in jail and fined HK$500 (US$63) at the District Court on Monday for splashing hot water on the newly-hired Indonesian domestic worker.

After learning the sentence handed down by deputy district judge Li Chi-ho, defendant Gee Hoo Giok, a Chinese Indonesian woman said: “I’ve never done this, why has the sentence turned out like this?” while her relatives and friends shouted “innocent” at the court, Apple Daily reported.

But Giok had been found guilty of one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and one count of breaching the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance earlier this month.

The defense lawyer pleaded for leniency, presenting 15 letters to the judge, including one written by the domestic worker with Giok’s daughter, who said she had worked for the family for 10 years and the defendant had been nice to her.

The judge said the defendant showed no remorse and denied the assault, but according to a psychological report had lost control after hearing impulsive remarks about her husband’s death by the domestic worker.

The court earlier heard that Indonesian domestic worker Ismiati, 29, was hired via an employment agency on January 24 last year. But when she reported for duty on March 27, she was told that her employer’s husband had passed away the night before.

After only working for the defendant for three days, Ismiati said the defendant accused her of being “stupid,” and “cooking too slow”.

On the third day, the defendant blamed the worker for her husband’s death as she did not report for duty earlier. Ismiati admitted that she shouted at the defendant that she could not have started work earlier because she had to obtain a visa and that Gee’s husband “was going to die anyway”.

Then, when Ismiati was in the kitchen, she felt pain on her back and turned and saw Gee standing behind her. She believed Gee had thrown hot water on her.

The domestic worker had recovered after the incident.

The judge said he had considered the defendant’s age and her clean record, but believed that sending her to jail for one year was the only punishment fit for what she did, Sing Pao reported.

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