Jail for HK man who dumped son in S'pore

HONG KONG* A Hong Kong man who abandoned his disabled son in Singapore in 2014 before returning home, has been jailed for six months by a Hong Kong court, Ming Pao Daily has reported.

The Chinese-language daily said on Tuesday that 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.

Local 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 questions, leading the authorities to issue a public appeal for help to find the boy's family.

The Singapore police sought help from their Hong Kong counterparts and subsequently ascertained that the boy was from Hong Kong.

Chen flew back to Hong Kong on his own, and was arrested at his home on July 25, 2014. The boy returned to Hong Kong unhurt on Aug 7 that year.

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.

After that, Chen felt there was insufficient support for disabled children in Hong Kong, his defence said. 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 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2017, with the headline 'Jail for HK man who dumped son in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe