Hong Kong police are reportedly looking into the death of a Filipina domestic worker who died of lupus just five months after coming to the city.
The deceased worker, Maristel Pepito, 35, died on February 18 in the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po in the New Territories, sunwebhk.com reported.
It was understood that her employer allegedly refused to send her to hospital despite her spitting blood. It was a newfound friend, Sheila Balisi, also a domestic worker, who took her to hospital.
The case came to light after the Assistance to Nationals Section of the Philippines Consulate invited staff from the woman’s employment agency to the office to try to find out what had happened to the domestic worker on Thursday.
The Consulate also invited the employer for a meeting but the employer did not attend.
An agency staffer handed a letter from the employer, saying she could not give any statement as the case was already being investigated by the Coroner’s Court and police.
It was understood that Balisi noticed the weak and sickly worker at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Tai Po last December 26 and accompanied her to the hospital. A doctor there said she would have to be confined due to infected leukemia.
But Pepito, a mother of three, reportedly took no heed and continued working for her employer.
On January 18, Pepito was admitted and confined for a week due to the ‘leukemia’ infection. But, a week later, the doctor said the maid was suffering from lupus, an auto-immune disease. Pepito was confined for two weeks.
Rodelia Villar, founder of the Domestic Workers Group, learned about Pepito’s case on January 28 and informed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Hong Kong about her situation.
When Balisi visited Pepito in hospital on February 3, the patient said the doctor had told her she would be moved to another hospital. But the next day, she was discharged.
The worker had to return to her employers’ flat to continue working. On February 11, she sent a message to Balisi complaining about not being given enough food and not being paid on time.