Mother who abandoned search for girl is convicted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 December, 2011, 12:00am


An unemployed single mother who gave up looking for her missing two-year-old daughter after a brief search and went home to sleep was convicted of neglect yesterday.

Unemployed Tang Xiangrong, 38, was woken by police and arrested after her daughter was found wandering a Lam Tin street just before 6am. Tang later pleaded guilty at Kwun Tong Court to a count of ill-treatment or neglect of a child.

Sentencing was adjourned to January 5. Tang was released on bail of HK$500.

The court heard Tang was a single mother. Her husband, a drug addict with eight criminal convictions, left her and the child several months ago.

Court documents stated that at about 5.45am on August 31, Tang took her daughter for a walk. Ten minutes later, she realised the girl was missing, but instead of calling the police went home after looking for the girl for a while without success.

A security guard subsequently found the girl wandering alone and called the police. At about 8.20am, they located Tang, who was sleeping at home, and arrested her.

She told police she had looked for the girl but felt tired.

Magistrate Kwok Kai-on said it was dangerous to leave young children alone. He referred to the recent tragedy in Foshan, Guangdong in which a toddler was hit by a car and killed, and the case of a Hong Kong girl who fell out of a window to her death after being left at home alone.

Kwok said that he intended to help Tang rather than punish her. 'You must show you are trustworthy before the court will allow you to take care of your daughter,' he said.

The girl is now in the custody of the Social Welfare Department. The maximum penalty Tang faces is 10 years in jail.