Man jailed in Hong Kong for abandoning disabled son in Singapore

Chan Chai-wai left his son at the Merlion Park in Singapore on 21 July 2014. Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su

A Hong Kong man was jailed six months by a court in Hong Kong on Wednesday (13 December) for abandoning his special needs son in Singapore in 2014.

Construction worker Chan Chai-wai, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of wilful abandonment of a child in the Hong Kong courts in November. This is believed to be the first case of its kind, said a report in Ming Pao Daily.

Acting principal magistrate So Mun-liung said the case warranted a deterrent sentence to warn the public about child abandonment.

The boy, then 11, was living at a school for children with special needs.

Chan took him to Singapore on 21 July 2014 and left him on the streets near Merlion Park.

Members of the public saw the boy wandering near Marina Promenade at night and alerted the police.

Chan also tore up the boy’s passport before returning to Hong Kong on 23 July.

The Singapore Police Force approached the Hong Kong police for help, and Chan was arrested on 25 July.

According to Hong Kong media reports, the boy is deaf and mute and believed to be intellectually disabled. He is from Chan’s previous marriage and his mother left him when he was four years old.

Chan’s defence lawyers said Chan was disappointed with the Hong Kong government’s the lack of support for mentally disabled children. He had hoped Singapore would provide better welfare for disabled children, added the defence. Chan is also supporting a mentally-ill mother and a sibling to has kidney disease.

According to the South China Morning Post, the boy is now being cared for by the boarding school.

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