Father's plight shows abuse the elderly face

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 January, 2010, 12:00am

Police officers have still not tracked down relatives of a 75-year-old Hong Kong man who says his son abandoned him in Guangzhou and stripped him of cash and his travel documents.

Tse Kam-wo is now in stable condition in North District Hospital after spending more than two weeks in a Guangzhou hospital with both legs broken. Doctors there did not operate on him because he had no money, Tse said, and he had to rely for food on other people's leftovers.

While police said they could not reach his family, the Social Welfare Department said a social worker was deployed to help Tse and would try to learn his needs before offering further assistance.

Tse only returned to the city on Wednesday with help from the government. Tse said his son took him to Guangzhou for an eye operation - he has been diagnosed with cataracts - but then the son left him in a street after taking away his travel documents and HK$5,000 in cash.

A group set up to combat abuse of the elderly urged the government to review laws as a means to stamp out the practice. Against Elderly Abuse of Hong Kong said it handled 1,795 cases of abuse last year and 1,760 cases in 2008. About 7 per cent involved abandonment.

The group's deputy executive director, Selwyn Yu Ka-lung, urged the government to enact a law to protect the elderly from abuse similar to that enacted to protect children. 'If children are abandoned, there is an ordinance to protect them. But there is no law to protect the elderly against abuse.'

The Social Welfare Department said there was sound legislation in place to protect all residents, including the elderly, against abuse.

A spokeswoman for the department said the elderly could seek a court injunction under the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Ordinance against molestation by their spouses, children or other relatives.

She said the department would continue its publicity and education campaigns to improve public awareness of the problem of abuse of the elderly, take measures to prevent it happening and provide appropriate support to elderly victims of abuse.