A 48-year-old man was sentenced to six months’ jail by a Hong Kong court for abandoning his disabled son in Singapore three years ago.
The court heard that this was the first case of its kind, according to a report in Ming Pao Daily on Wednesday (Dec 13).
Construction worker Chan Chai-wai pleaded guilty in November to one count of wilful abandonment of a child.
The boy, who was 11 at the time, was living at a boarding school for children with special needs, RTHK reported.
His father took him to Singapore during the summer holidays, but left him on the streets and flew back to Hong Kong alone after tearing up the boy’s passport.
Passers-by found the boy wandering near Marina Promenade at night on Jul 21, 2014 and called the police.
Singapore police subsequently sought help from the Hong Kong police, who arrested Chan on Jul 25.
The boy cannot hear or talk, and is believed to be autistic and intellectually disabled. He was born to Chan’s ex-wife, who left him when he was four years old, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Chan loved his son very much, but was disappointed with the Hong Kong government’s lack of support for mentally disabled children, defence lawyers said, according to the report.
In 2014, after discovering injuries on his son’s head and legs, Chan complained to his school, but to no avail.
He believed that Singapore provided better welfare benefits for disabled children, and therefore foolishly committed the crime, the defence said.
Chan now realises that his actions were “irresponsible” and that being under pressure is not an excuse to commit any crime, Ming Pao Daily reported.
In passing the sentence, the judge took into consideration the fact that Chan had pleaded guilty, but said there was a need to pass a harsh sentence to remind the public of their responsibility to their children.