HONG KONG - A Hong Kong man who abandoned his disabled son in Singapore in 2014 before returning home alone, has been sentenced to six months' jail by a Hong Kong court, reported Ming Pao Daily on Tuesday (Dec 12).
The Chinese-language daily said the man, who had earlier pleaded guilty to wilfully abandoning the child, was sentenced by the Kwun Tong Magistrates' Court.
The court heard that this was the first case of its kind.
Hong Kong media reported last month that the man, a 48-year-old Hong Konger surnamed Chen, had researched welfare benefits for mentally disabled children in Singapore before abandoning his son in the Republic, near Marina Promenade.
The deaf-mute boy, who was 11 then, was found wandering alone. He could not respond to police after he was taken into custody, leading the authorities to issue a public appeal for help to find the boy's family.
The police sought help from Hong Kong police and subsequently ascertained that the boy was from Hong Kong.
Chen flew back to Hong Kong on his own, and was arrested on July 25, 2014, at home.
The boy returned to Hong Kong unhurt on Aug 7, 2014.
Ming Pao reported that Chen's lawyers pleaded for leniency, pointing out that he loved his son very much.
The boy was born to Chen's first wife, said Ming Pao.
The defence also said Chen had started to discover wounds and injuries on the child's head and legs in 2014.
Chen complained to the boy's school, but to no avail.
Since then, Chen felt there was insufficient support for disabled children in Hong Kong, said the defence.
He had read about better welfare benefits in Singapore, which led him to "foolishly" commit the crime.
Ming Pao also reported that Chen now realises that his actions were "irresponsible".
In passing the sentence, the judge had taken into consideration the fact that Chen had pleaded guilty, but said there was a need to pass a harsh enough sentence to remind the public of their responsibility to their children.