‘We had a good relationship’, insists woman accused of scalding domestic worker with hot water

(Left) Gee Hoo-giok walking out of District Court. She has been accused of scalding her domestic worker Ismati (right). Screengrabs via Apple Daily.

Insisting she had good relationship with her alleged victim, a 78-year-old woman yesterday denied scalding her Indonesian domestic worker with hot water, saying she “didn’t know” how her employee suffered burns to her skin.

On trial for the alleged attack, Gee Hoo-giok yesterday took the stand and sought to praise the woman she is accused of burning, 29-year-old Ismiati, whose surname was not reported by Headline Daily, which covered the case.

She called the victim a “good and caring” worker while also telling the court she’d given Ismiati a HK$50 (US$6) reward for the quality of her service.

Gee, also a native of Indonesia, flatly denied splashing her with hot water for cooking too slowly and also rejected claims she’d blamed the victim for her husband’s death.

The picture painted by the defendant contrasted sharply with testimony provided by Ismiati, who said Gee had taken umbrage with her for beginning her employment the day after her husband’s death.

Gee’s reasoning, according to Ismiati, was that his death could have been avoided had she started her contract earlier.

The court heard Gee’s husband, whom she married in 1966 and with whom she had two children, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005 and had been sent to a nursing home in 2016.

In an effort to have him live at the family’s house, Ismiati was hired in January 2017 to work as his carer.

But, owing to visa processing, she was unable to legally work until March 24. Her start day was March 27, one day after Gee’s husband died.

Giving her version of the day of the alleged attack — which was Ismiati’s third day of working for the family — Gee recalled cutting short a phone conversation with friends about her husband’s death to help teach her new domestic worker how to cook dinner, according to HK01.

Gee said she also recalled that Ismiati changed into a white t-shirt and that, after this, she remembered specifically asking her employee whether she was cold, to which she was told no.

After the pair finished cooking, the defendant said she went for a bath and then offered Ismiati the chance to do the same.

It was at this point, she alleged, that, after going to the toilet, Ismiate returned and accused her of scalding her with hot water.

The alleged victim did suffer burns to the back of her neck however Gee said she didn’t know how that happened.

Gee added that she called the police as she was frightened.

The trial continues.

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