A 31-year-old Indonesian woman working in Changhua County, central Taiwan, who was allegedly trying to harm herself due to mood swings caused by homesickness, gave up the sharp implements last Friday after officers calmed her by playing verses from the Koran.

Tianzhong Police Precinct received a plea for help at 10pm on October 20 from an employer surnamed Wang who said a migrant domestic caregiver named Tina was emotionally distressed, talking to herself and holding scissors and a penknife in her hands, Taiwan Times reported over the weekend.

Police and translators from the employment agency rushed to the residential unit on Yuanji Road. They talked to the victim for nearly two hours but failed to calm her or get her to put down the sharp items.

An officer surnamed Wang was sent to provide additional backup help. Learning that Tina might be a Muslim, he played a recitation from the Koran on a mobile phone in an effort to soothe her soul.

At the end of the audio recitation from the Koran, the woman released the knives and handed them to the officers.

Preliminary police inquiries found that the Indonesian woman came to Taiwan to work as a domestic caregiver in September last year, but she has suffered homesickness in the 13 months since.

Migrant workers in Taiwan can call a government hotline on 1955 at any time for counselling, complaints, legal counselling, placement referral or other services.