BALIK PULAU: A Chinese immigrant attempted suicide yesterday in a bid to force her employer to pay her and her colleagues
their unpaid salaries over the past three years.
Wong Li Mei, 38, from Shandong province in northeast China, was standing by a ledge along the Jalan Aziz Ibrahim flyover near Queensbay, crying with a handwritten note in hand when passers-by spotted her at 3pm and alerted the police.
Wong said ever since she and her three colleagues arrived in Malaysia three years ago to work at a reflexology centre, they had never been paid.
"We came here to seek employment and a salary to help our families back home but our employer never paid us," said the mother of two, adding each of them were supposed to be paid RM1,500 a month.
"Working in that centre is stressful. We're not allowed out and the gates are locked after work.
"We are only allowed out twice a week to buy groceries and that too, within 45 minutes. If we are a minute late, RM500 would be deducted from our salary," she told reporters at the Balik Pulau district police headquarters.
She said they were made to work every day from 11.30am to 1am without any days off.
Earlier, Wong had confronted her employer, a man in his 30s, to pay her and her friends' salaries amounting to RM10,000 and let them return to China.
"He only paid two women one month's salary. When I threatened to kill myself, he said 'go ahead'. So, I walked out of the centre to the flyover with a note in my hand," she said.
"In the note, I wrote my name, my husband's name and contact details in China. I wrote that whoever finds my body should inform my husband of my death and that my employer prompted me to end my life. I also wrote my employer's name."
Upon reaching the scene, police calmed Wong down and took her to the centre where they rescued her colleagues Duen Li Hong, 23, and 38-year-olds Jaing Yon Ken and Zhang Yin.
Accompanying the women at the police station was Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin. He said the women had sent a distress call via email to a vernacular newspaper on March 21 after reading about 70 Vietnamese men and women who were
rescued from a house on Jalan Tull earlier this month.
Sim said in the email, which was brought to his attention two days ago by another assemblyman, the women described various inhumane treatment by their employer and hoped for the newspaper's help to rescue them and return them to China.
"When they first arrived, they were told no salary would be paid for the first seven months as a deposit for the agent but they never got their salary even after that," he said, adding their work permits would expire by the middle of the year.
Sim said although they were not forced to engage in sexual activities, it was sad the women were treated like slaves.
Southwest District OCPD Supt Mohd Hatta Mohd Zain said the case was being investigated under Section 13 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2007 which carries 20 years jail and a fine.
"We have taken down the employer's statement yesterday and a protection order is being sought from the magistrate's