Man jailed 9 months for caning 3-year-old son, leaving multiple marks on limbs and back

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·3-min read
Young sad boy sitting on the floor
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man who was stressed over work and financial issues would cane his three-year-old son every fortnight, resulting in multiple cane marks on the child’s body.

When the child’s mother refused her mother’s offer to bring the boy to a doctor, the elder woman made a police report.

The 33-year-old father of the boy was jailed for nine months on Friday (7 August) on one count of ill-treating the child between March and August 2018. The boy, who is now five years old, cannot be named to protect his identity. All family members in this case cannot be named as well.

Maternal grandmother noticed cane marks

The man, a logistics coordinator, and the boy’s mother had placed the boy in the care of his maternal grandmother’s friend, as they both worked and could not afford infant care.

In March 2018, the married couple brought the boy back to stay with them. From June 2018, when the couple brought the boy to visit his maternal grandmother, the 54-year-old woman would notice cane marks on his arms and legs.

She asked her daughter about the marks and was told that the boy’s father caned him.

On 26 August that year, the grandmother again noticed cane marks on his arms, legs and back. She found out that the man had caned her grandson again. Two days later, the elder woman headed to the couple’s residence intending to bring her grandson to the doctor, however the boy’s mother refused the offer.

The grandmother then made a police report.

Father under stress from work, financial problems, boy’s misbehaviour

Investigations found that between March and June 2018, the man would cane his son every fortnight whenever the boy misbehaved.

The man claimed that he was under stress from work, the family’s financial problems – such as him having to pay maintenance to his ex-wife – and the boy’s misbehaviour, including when the boy failed to tell his father what he wanted or that his diapers were full.

The father would also cane his son when the latter snatched things from his sister or other children.

Even though he started by caning the boy’s palm, he progressed to the boy’s arms, legs and back from around June 2018. As the boy tried to dodge around when he was being punished, the cane would also hit his chest and torso.

On 29 August 2018, the boy was brought to the hospital where he was examined to have multiple cane marks, measuring between 1cm and 10cm, on all four limbs and his back.

For ill treating a child, the man could have been jailed up to four years, and/or fined up to $4,000.

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