Widow, 78, hid husband's death for 20 years to stay in home she loved
A 78-year-old widow covered up the death of her husband for 20 years, faking his signature to keep a public housing flat, a court heard yesterday.
Ng Ah-heung narrowly escaped jail yesterday after being convicted of one count of fraud and six counts of forgery. She was sentenced to four months' imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently.
However, Acting Principal Magistrate Amanda Woodcock said that while Ng's crimes were serious, she would suspend the sentence for 18 months due to her age and the fact that she only did it because she wanted to stay in a home that she loved.
Ng began living with her husband in the flat in Wah On House in Wah Fu Estate in 1968.
Her husband died in 1989, but she submitted false information to housing officials that he remained living with her, and forged his signature on income declaration forms.
Her crime only came to light in October last year when she decided to delete her husband from the tenancy list.
Housing officers then went through her documents as a matter of routine and discovered her husband had died in 1989.
The police were called in and Ng was arrested on March 7. The court heard that social security recipient Ng, who suffers from cataracts, diabetes and high blood pressure, loved the house and neighbourhood.
Although she lived alone and had to leave the flat to take care of her sick daughter for a period, she still went back to her home every night.
She was charged with forging her husband's signature five times on income declaration forms from April 1, 1998, to May 1, 2006.
According to Housing Authority rules, the flat had to be occupied by a minimum of two people, and another family would have been assigned the home immediately following the death of Ng's husband.
It is not clear where Ng is currently living.