Indonesia’s ‘menstrual meal’ maid walks free

HONG KONG - An Indonesian maid arrested after mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking for her Hong Kong employer has walked free from court, a media report said Thursday.

Indra Ningsih, 26, admitted to police she had added the blood to the meal in a superstitious effort to make her Chinese employer “more amiable and less picky” towards her.

She was originally charged with administering a poison or other noxious substance with an intent to injure in April.

However, a report in the Hong Kong Standard newspaper said prosecutors had decided the charge could not be sustained, after the government laboratory and doctors ruled that menstrual blood is not toxic.

Following a police investigation, a Department of Justice spokesman said it would be inappropriate to prosecute and dropped the charge.

Ningsih was arrested in April after her employer peered through the kitchen door and saw her acting suspiciously as she cooked vegetables at her home in the city’s Tsueng Kwan O district.

When the employer checked, she found a blood clot-like substance mixed with the vegetables and a used sanitary napkin in the kitchen bin, according to a report in the Hong Kong Standard newspaper.

Prosecutors said that Ningsih told police her employer had been unhappy with her performance since hiring her last July and constantly scolded her.

She told police she mixed the blood with the food because she believed it would improve their relationship and make her employer kinder to her.

In 2008, a court in Saudi Arabia jailed two maids from Indonesia and the Philippines for four months and sentenced them to 250 lashes each for putting urine and menstrual blood in their employer’s tea.

Another Indonesian maid in Hong Kong was jailed for three months in 2007 after being convicted of adding urine to the drinking water of her employer, believing it would make the family treat her better.

More than 200,000 women from the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand work as live-in maids for families in Hong Kong, doing housework and child care duties for a government-set minimum wage of around $450 a month.

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