Boy caned for stealing, court told

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 January, 1997, 12:00am

A six-year-old boy was caned by his uncle's girlfriend after he was found to have stolen two packs of chocolate at a convenience store, Eastern Court heard yesterday.

It was alleged his uncle's girlfriend, Ma Ho-lam, 18, beat him with a rattan stick on November 7 when the boy also lied that he had done his homework.

The next day a school teacher noticed the boy could not carry his schoolbag on his back properly and found he had bruises on his back. She sent the boy to hospital and called police.

Yesterday the Crown amended three charges of cruelty to a child against the saleswoman and the boy's uncle, Ko Chi-wa, 21, a waiter.

Paediatricians at Queen Mary Hospital said in a report the caning did not amount to abuse and could only be regarded as excessive physical punishment. The boy was still in good health, the report said.

The woman was charged with causing bodily harm to the boy, which she denied. She and her boyfriend each denied a charge of common assault, denying that they beat the boy on two or three occasions last September.

The court heard the boy had been living with the pair and his grandparents in Aberdeen as his parents were unable to take care of him. Magistrate Peter Line dismissed the amended charges and ordered the pair to be bound over for a year in the sum of $1,000.