A local court spared a middle-aged couple from jail on Thursday after they admitted slapping their daughter, gripping her neck and hitting another daughter on the head with an iron pipe.
Instead, Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen ordered each of the parents to serve a 12-month probation at West Kowloon Court.
He declined to impose a custodial sentence after considering it necessary for the couple to control their temper when nurturing their children; he said this could be achieved through counselling and follow-ups on their progress by a probation officer.
The Post was told that the Social Welfare Department had arranged for the elder daughter, now 18, to live in a girls’ hostel. Her younger sister, now 13, was put in a home for school-age children.
The parents pleaded guilty to one count of wilful assault causing injury to a child, after they hit their younger daughter at their home in Kwai Chung Estate because they suspected her of stealing their money.
The 49-year-old father, a construction worker, further admitted one count each of wilful assault causing injury to a child and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for slapping his younger daughter and hitting his elder daughter on the head with a metal tube on a separate occasion.
In a previous hearing, defence lawyers said the couple, who married around two decades ago, committed the offences because they had no idea how to educate their daughters.
Lawyers told the court the pair were remorseful, knowing what they had done had put a strain on the relationship with their children. They had endeavoured to make up for their mistakes after the incident.
Law accepted recommendations made by the probation officer and sentenced both defendants to one year’s probation.
On a day in February last year, the parents accused their younger child, then 12, of taking their money without permission.
As punishment, the father slapped her and punched her in the abdomen. The 48-year-old mother, who worked as a waitress, grasped her by her neck, before her spouse attempted to further clench her neck using a belt, only to be stopped by the elder child.
The father slapped the younger daughter at least 17 times, leaving her with bruises on her face, on September 8, 2018, after she ate leftover food from the fridge without her parents’ permission.
That night, he struck his elder daughter on the head for around 20 minutes, accusing her of buying the wrong number of cans of beer for him.
The elder daughter, having sustained bruises to her head, face and elbow, told a doctor the next day that she and her sister had been subject to violence by their parents. A social worker reported the case to police, leading to the couple’s arrest.
This article Court spares Hong Kong couple from prison for assaulting their adolescent daughters first appeared on South China Morning Post