Indonesians in Hong Kong

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Indonesians in Hong Kong
Orang Indonesia di Hong Kong
HK Causeway Road July 1 march 2010 Domestic helpers 03 KOTKIHO.JPG
A group of Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong 1 July marches rally.
Total population
102,100 (2006)
Regions with significant populations
Causeway Bay, Kowloon, Wan Chai
Indonesian, Javanese, others[1]
Sunni Islam[1]
Related ethnic groups
Various ethnic groups in Indonesia

Indonesians in Hong Kong, numbering 102,100,[2] form the second-largest ethnic minority group in the territory, behind Filipinos.[3] Immigration from Indonesia to Hong Kong began as early as the 1960s, when Indonesian Chinese seeking to escape discrimination and anti-Chinese pogroms relocated to Hong Kong and Taiwan;[citation needed] most Indonesians coming to Hong Kong today are pribumi who arrive under limited-term contracts for employment as foreign domestic helpers. Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong comprise 2.4% of all overseas Indonesian workers.[4]


Indonesians domestic helpers often gather in the area near Victoria Park on their days off.

In 2006, it was estimated that 102,100 Indonesians worked in Hong Kong,[2] of whom between 80 and 90% are estimated to be women.[5] This represents a growth of almost 250% from the 41,000 recorded six years earlier,[3] while during the same period, the number of domestic helpers from the Philippines declined. Some newspaper reports attributed this to the fact that Filipinas were "harder to manage",[6] and additionally to the better training of Indonesian domestic helpers. Employment agencies in Indonesia sending workers to Hong Kong typically provide at least three to six months of training in household work, including a basic course in Cantonese, whereas similar agencies in the Philippines provide only fourteen days of training. But agencies do not always provide adequate training. They also work together with agencies in Hong Kong to extract higher fees from Indonesians after they start working in Hong Kong. Part of this extra fee is the money that agencies pay to women in Indonesia to start the migration process.[7] Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong are represented by two unions, the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU) and Coalition of Indonesian Migrant Workers' Organisations (KOTKIHO, Koalisi Organisasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Hong Kong).[8]

According to organisations representing migrant workers, police intimidation of migrant workers is also a problem.[3] Underpayment of wages and employer abuse is also a problem; Indonesian workers are widely paid as little as HK$1800 to HK$2000 per month.[2][9] During the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, the Hong Kong government threatened to expel Indonesian labourers in Hong Kong in response to the Indonesian government's inaction on crimes committed against ethnic Chinese women; however, in the end, they did not act on this threat.[10]

Remittances and savings[edit]

Local Indonesian migrant workers' unions participated in the 2005 WTO Protests in Wan Chai

Indonesians in Hong Kong send remittances less frequently than Indonesians in Japan and Singapore, or Filipinos in Hong Kong;[11] they were also somewhat less likely than Filipinos to use a bank to send such remittances, instead relying on friends or other informal networks such as hawala.[12] Contrary to the trend in Latin America, where remittances from relatives working in the United States are often used to meet daily expenses or for other consumption,[13] in one 2005 survey, more than half of Indonesian workers in Hong Kong reported that their families used their remittances to start businesses, each creating between one and five jobs.[5]


In 2009, there were 220,000 Muslims in Hong Kong, of which Indonesians formed an estimated 120,000.[14]

Within their communities, services are provided to Indonesian Muslims and other Muslims mainly by NGOs. Most of these NGOs have courses in Arabic and the Quran so that children and newly Muslim people can learn the religion practices and language they need. There are seven Islamic schools in Hong Kong, run mainly by Islamic NGOs, for example the Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association.[15] Some of them have membership schemes and provide services like library, retails, etc.[16] Some of the people also gather in the Mosques during religious celebrations. If they seem to mainly interact within their own local communities, it is because their social values and moral standards are different from mainstream Hong Kong culture. [17]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Radio International Singapore 25 February 2006
  2. ^ a b c Media Indonesia Online 30 November 2006
  3. ^ a b c US Dept. of State 2000: Section 5
  4. ^ Hugo 2000: 5
  5. ^ a b Villalba 2005
  6. ^ Pacific Business News 2004
  7. ^ Palmer, Wayne. 2010. Costly inducements. In Inside Indonesia 100.
  8. ^ IMWU 15 May 2005
  9. ^ ATKI Primer on Illegal Salary Deductions to Indonesian Migrant Workers (IMWs) In Hong Kong
  10. ^ HRW 1998: Introduction
  11. ^ Orozco 2005: 15
  12. ^ Orozco 2005: 24
  13. ^ Wall Street Journal 1 November 2006
  14. ^
  15. ^ 香港穆斯林辦學一覽表
  16. ^ Islamic Union of Hong Kong-
  17. ^ 沈旭輝, 為伊斯蘭作嚮導-


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]