Sisters in care as mainland mother seized

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 December, 1998, 12:00am

Three sisters aged six, three, and two are being sent to an orphanage after their over-staying mainland mother was arrested by police.

Police took Tse Nga-san, Tse Nga-choi and Tse Nga-sin, to United Christian Hospital for medical checks before seeking to settle them in a local orphanage.

The girls' unemployed father, Tse Leung-kam, refused to take care of the girls after police arrested his wife, named as Ms Lai, whose two-way permit had expired by a month.

The family of five was intercepted by police outside their flat in Block Five of Tseung Kwan O Temporary Housing Area at 9.30am yesterday.

The Society for Community Organisation criticised existing laws last night for not allowing the mother to stay with her daughters and said there were many similar cases.

Six-year-old Tse Nga-san said yesterday: 'We miss mum very much but I prefer to live alone than live with dad. When mum is home, she cooks for us and plays with us. But dad never cooks and seldom plays with us.

'We are not afraid to live alone and I will take care of my two sisters.' Mr Tse said he would only take back his daughters if the Hong Kong Government allowed his wife to stay. He was unable to look after them by himself.

The Social Welfare Department said social workers might need to go across the border to assess if the mother, from Haifeng in Guangdong, was suitable to take care of the children, in case the father chose to give them up.

However, a veteran migrant worker said it was highly unlikely that a court would give consent for three children to be removed from Hong Kong even if the mother was willing to take care of them.

The Society for Community Organisation criticised the rigid one-way permit system which it said created problems for families.

'If the mother is allowed to settle here when the children are born here, there may not be a problem,' Sze Lai-shan of the society said.

A Social Welfare Department spokesman said between January and last month, 50 children had to be placed at refuge centres temporarily, but no breakdown involving cross-border parents was available.