HK Singer Jacky Cheung Defends Frequent Firings of Filipino Maids
Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung defended himself against suggestions he frequently fired and hired Filipino maids, saying he was just an "ordinary employer," a newspaper reported Friday.
His comments came after the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong put Cheung and his wife - former actress May Lo - on a blacklist of substandard employers.
The Filipino Globe newspaper, published for Hong Kong's Filipino community, earlier reported only a few of the 21 maids that Cheung hired over the past three years completed their two-year contracts.
The pop singer, who's on a concert tour in China's Zhejiang province, could not recall the number of domestic helpers his family had hired and sacked, the South China Morning Post reported.
"An employer can fire an employee if he or she fails to perform, whilst an employee can also resign if he or she is not happy about the employer," Cheung was quoted as saying.
"Is there anything wrong if we fire a maid when we find out that she is not helpful?" he said. "I consider myself an ordinary employer. Many of my friends terminate their maids' contract and I believe it is normal in any employment."
Cheung also said he rehired some of the Filipino maids when their contracts expired. Others resigned on the first day after seeing there were so many stairs at his four-storey house, he told the paper.
One of his former maids, Preslyn-saga Catacutan, was sentenced in December to six months in jail for stealing a letter and three photos from her employer. Local media reported that Cheung testified against her. Maid organizers criticized the sentence as too harsh at the time.
Eman Villanueva, deputy secretary-general of the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union, said Catacutan has since appealed and had her sentence cut in half.
Tens of thousands of Filipinos work as maids in wealthy Hong Kong. Smaller numbers come from Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal.