Sad saga of the little girl with 'no cash'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 June, 1993, 12:00am

HERE is a sorry little tale which may interest your readers. You cannot get very angry if you are cheated out of $2.50, but it is a pathetic story.

I was walking through Cityplaza one lunchtime when a little girl of around eight years old came up to me and said: ''Could you please lend me $2.50, I need to go home but I have only got 50 cents with me.'' I was suspicious of how a girl of this age could be left alone without money to go home. I asked a lot of questions like who was taking care of her, where were her parents, how I could contact them . . . etc.

She answered one by one: both parents were working, but her mother would be back home to make food for her at around 4 pm. She did not know the telephone numbers of the parents' place of work. She had an MTR ticket to go back to Chai Wan but it was bent so was not valid - it was shown to me.

Believable? I thought so too. I told her she should not be asking for money from people on the street and that I would call her parents that day to tell them that.

She said her name was Wong Wai-man and her father's Wong Wai-yin. I then gave her $2.50. I went back to the office and tried to call her parents - only to find out the telephone number she gave me was that of a bank and was obviously made up at that moment.

The telephone directory number for Wong Wai-yin was not that of a man with a daughter named Wong Wai-man.

If what she said was true, and only the telephone number was wrong, could someone tell me so that I am not persuaded that Hongkong is to become a crooks' paradise with children honing their skills to cheat for money at the age of eight.