Caring readers give cash to help attack girl rebuild her life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am

South China Morning Post readers have donated thousands of dollars to help a 12-year-old girl who survived an attack by her father in which her brother and sister died.

Many readers were moved by the girl's ordeal last month and gave money after learning from an interview with her mother how they were trying to rebuild their lives.

Many other readers wrote letters expressing sympathy and support.

Yip Lai-kwok was seriously injured by her jobless father, Yip Kit-lun, who hanged himself in their Tsz Wan Shan flat after chopping to death his nine-year-old son, Pit-hoi, and daughter Lai-in, 10, on January 20.

The tragedy happened soon after a court awarded custody of the girls to their mother, who had separated from her husband.

Custody of Pit-hoi was to have been decided at a later date.

Lai-kwok's mother, who does not want to be named, said her children had noticed their father was acting strangely before he attacked them.

Yesterday she expressed her gratitude to readers for both their response and the money. It is not clear how much was actually donated because some readers preferred to deposit money directly into the family's account.

'I wish to say thank you to all of them,' Lai-kwok's mother said.

The distraught woman, who is still under observation in hospital, said she hoped to be discharged soon because she needed to make plans for the new flat they would be moving into to try to rebuild their lives.

'I wish I could hide myself from the world by staying in the hospital forever,' she said. 'But I just can't as I need to take care of Lai-kwok.'

Lai-kwok's mother has decided to leave almost everything at the old Tsz Wan Shan flat to save her daughter from having to face reminders of the tragedy.

Lai-kwok is still being treated in Queen Elizabeth Hospital after doctors reattached two fingers on her left hand.

She lost the index finger on her right hand.

Lai-kwok's mother said her daughter was making progress and had been transferred from the intensive care unit before the Lunar New Year holiday.

She said in an earlier interview that religious belief had given her daughter the courage to face her life ahead and that she believed her young brother and sister were in heaven.

Yesterday she said she was worried her daughter was continuing to hide her sadness as she had refused to tell her exactly what had happened on the night for fear of upsetting her mother even further.

'I still wake up shivering in the middle of the night thinking of how my two younger children died in such a terrible way,' she said.

'I just can't understand how their father could have done what he did.'

Graphic: CARE26GET