DNA bid to solve mystery of birth

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am

Hunt for mums, babies from one day in 1976

The Hospital Authority is to appeal for women who had babies at Tsan Yuk Hospital, Sai Ying Pun, on November 30, 1976, and males born there that day, to come forward for DNA tests.

It is trying to find the parents of 31-year-old Kelvin Li Kwok-yin, who recently discovered he was given to the wrong couple at the hospital, and that couple's biological son.

The authority confirmed yesterday it would launch a public appeal but said the scope might be wider than November 30, 1976. 'We are still discussing the timeframe. We may tend to call people born or mothers who delivered their babies within the period that falls either immediately before or after Kelvin's birthday,' authority spokesman Poon Kai-tik said.

Mr Li revealed to the media last month that the authority had told him it would search for 107 babies who shared his birthday and test them. But yesterday Mr Poon said it was yet to be confirmed exactly how many babies were born that day.

Details of the public appeal would be released in a written statement on Monday at the earliest, he said.

Mr Li said he received a telephone call from the authority yesterday about the appeal and was delighted to hear the news. 'It's definitely a good thing to hear they will call on people for a DNA test,' he said. 'The Hospital Authority together with the Social Welfare Department have arranged a meeting with me next Thursday, mainly to discuss what follow-up action needs to be done.

'On the day of the meeting, the authority will also give me back the result of the DNA test that I took with my mother on January 21.'

That test followed repeated inquiries to many government departments by Mr Li after his sister pointed out his blood type meant he could not possibly be his mother's son.

In January a man identifying himself as Ah Hung, who was born in the same hospital on the same day, approached the family and agreed to have a DNA, the result of which has not yet been released.

Looking back yesterday over the past few months, Mr Li said he felt he was at the centre of a drama. 'The probability of being swapped should be very low. I thought it could only happen on television. Of course, it was a big surprise when I first learnt the DNA result didn't match.'

But he had known immediately he had to accept the fact. 'I knew that if I didn't handle the situation well, this could become a crisis in our family, which I wouldn't let happen. So I had to find ways to help my parents.'

He had gained more than he lost. 'Many people came up to me and said what a terrible thing for our family, but I see it the other way around. This is because, for the past 31 years, I have been living very happily with my family and my parents have taken good care of me. We love each other very much. I think this incident has made our family even closer.

'There was a day when my younger brother suddenly called me and asked, 'Will you still be my brother? Everything will be unchanged, right?' He even told me he loves me. I was so touched that I nearly cried!'

Mr Li's parents said the discovery had not changed their relationship with their son or the love they felt for him. But they hoped one day they could meet their biological son.

'It has indeed taken us some time to accept that we have another son somewhere,' Mr Li's mother, Lui Fung-ha, said. 'But, after all, it's been so many years, we are sure he already has his own family and his life to live. As parents, we only want to see how he has been doing.

'We both are very grateful that we can have Kelvin as our son. He has been a very good boy.'

Mr Li and his parents said they had no regrets about discovering the truth.