Single mother held in custody for leaving five children home alone

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am

A young single mother who left her five daughters aged 18 months to seven years unattended without proper food in a flat strewn with human waste while she went window-shopping was remanded in custody yesterday after a magistrate called for psychiatric and other reports.

Hon Pui-shan, 28, had pleaded guilty earlier and been bailed to appear in Tsuen Wan Court yesterday for sentencing.

But principal magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung deferred sentencing for two more weeks on the recommendation of a probation officer, who said Hon had admitted having psychiatric problems.

He said the flat in Shek Yam Estate, Kwai Chung, was unfit for children to live in after seeing 18 photos of the cluttered home, which was littered with faeces and soaked with urine.

Two of the girls are in foster care and the others are with the Po Leung Kuk charity.

The court heard earlier that police entered the flat on November 24 last year after a complaint from neighbours that the girls were urinating in the corridor.

They found the children alone without water and food apart from a few slices of bread on the sofa. The youngest was naked.

Police contacted the mother on her mobile phone and she returned two hours later.

Under caution, Hon said the children had been left for two hours when the authorities arrived. Hon said she was upset by her divorce and went window-shopping at a mall.

The magistrate adjourned the case until February 28 pending two psychiatric reports, a psychologist's report and a further probation report.

The court heard earlier that Hon married in 2000 and the children were left in her sole care last year after her husband filed for divorce.