Hong Kong boy found in Singapore has 'mild intellectual disability'

The 11-year-old is still in Singapore under the care of the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
The 11-year-old is still in Singapore under the care of the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

A Hong Kong boy abandoned here by his father last week has a "mild intellectual disability", sources told The Straits Times.

The 11-year-old, whose parents are divorced, was found wandering alone along Marina Promenade at 8pm last Monday, wearing a short-sleeved blue T-shirt, long khaki trousers and a pair of New Balance running shoes.

He is still in Singapore under the care of the Ministry of Social and Family Development, which said he was "doing well".

The police said in a statement they were working closely with their Hong Kong counterparts in ongoing investigations. They added: "Arrangements will be made to return the boy to his place of origin as soon as possible."

The boy's father, a 45-year-old construction worker surnamed Chen, was arrested by Hong Kong police last Friday night at a public housing estate in Kowloon on suspicions of neglect.

Well-placed sources told The Straits Times the father had remarried and had another child, and had purportedly abandoned his son in Singapore so that he could have a fresh start with his new family.

The pair flew to Singapore last Monday. Surveillance camera footage showed the pair touring shopping malls near Marina Promenade before the boy was eventually found alone that same day.

The police released a picture of the boy the next day and appealed for his next of kin to come forward. His father returned home last Wednesday.

Hong Kong media have reported Mr Chen telling the police upon his arrest that he chose to dump his son in Singapore after reviewing welfare benefits for intellectually disabled children here.

It was also reported that the boy had recently returned home for the summer vacation from a special needs boarding school.

waltsim@sph.com.sg

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