Singapore

Hong Kong man jailed for abandoning son in Singapore

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, surnamed Chen, 48, 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 wandering alone. He could not respond to police questions, leading the authorities to issue a public appeal for help.

The police sought help from their Hong Kong counterparts and ascertained 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 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 defence also said Chen had started to discover injuries on the child's head and legs in 2014.

Chen complained to the boy's school to no avail.

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

He had read about better welfare in Singapore, which led him to "foolishly" commit the crime.

Ming Pao also reported that Chen now realises that his actions were "irresponsible".

In sentencing, the judge said there was a need to pass a harsh enough sentence to remind the public of their responsibility to their children.

COURT & CRIME