In an emotional phone call from Indonesia, an Indonesian domestic worker who was expelled from Hong Kong on Monday has accused immigration authorities of harsh treatment, including a strip search by a male medical officer.
Yuli Riswati said this while speaking to a group of supporters who rallied at the Edinburgh Place in Central on Saturday.
Yuli had failed to renew her visa though she had a valid employment contract. The immigration officials detained her for four weeks before deporting her.
Her supporters said she was singled out for immediate expulsion because she was active at protest sites, writing about what was happening in the city.
Talking from Indonesia, Yuli said after being detained by immigration officials and taken to Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre, she felt totally helpless as the facility was worse than a prison.
"Unlike a prision, the inmates don't know how long you will be stuck there," she said.
Yuli was searched by male officers and including a strip search by a male doctor.
She said she felt depressed after that and wondered why she underwent such treatment.
"I didn't do anything wrong nor bad," said Yuli.
"In my religion, Islam, it is a sin to expose our body to strangers," she added.
Yuli said she was ill when she left Hong Kong and is now recovering after getting proper medical treatment.
A spokesperson for the rally’s organisers, Lau Ka-mei, said it’s important for Hong Kong people to stand with Yuli just as she stood with them.
“She actively engaged in the movement and wrote a lot of stories about what’s happening in Hong Kong in Bahasa, so the Indonesian migrant community in Hong Kong know what actually happened," said Lau.
"Yuli supports Hong Kong so much. Now it’s the time we, Hong Kong people, to support her because she’s detained and deported by the Immigration Department very unfairly,” she said.
Lau told RTHK's Richard Pyne that they want immigration officials to explain why Yuli was treated this way.
Yuli – who won an award last year for her writing – used to report on the ongoing anti-government agitation for a Hong Kong-based Indonesian newspaper.