Police officers began digging at the Tseung Kwan O landfill on Thursday, in the hope of finding the body of six-month-old girl at the centre of a bogus abduction invented by her mother.
Officers wearing protective gear began the search with handy tools on Thursday afternoon.
Officers searching for the body of Yu Hoi-ching, which is suspected to be buried under layers of rubbish, arrived at about 10.15am. Police said the area to be searched is the size of a football pitch.
According to a senior police officer, more than 100 members from the crack Police Tactical Unit are being deployed to carry out the search. It follows investigations that indicate the body may have been disposed in the huge landfill.
Crime squad officers have established that garbage from the San Po Kong area, where the body was reportedly discarded in a rubbish bin last month, was taken the Tseung Kwan O landfill.
Over the past two days, police discussed with the Environmental Protection Department and the landfill contractor how to detect the exact area and how to retrieve the body.
Senior inspector Baron Chan Shun-ching of the Kowloon West regional crime unit said: “Up to now, six metres of refuse has been accumulated involving about 8,000 tonnes or rubbish.
“We have to dig out rubbish with diggers before sending in our officers to sift through the garbage.”
When asked the chance of finding the body, Chan said: “We still have hope we can find the body.”
However, he was unable to speculate on how long the job would take.
On Wednesday, Hoi-ching’s mother, Ng Tin-yan, 32, who initially claimed the baby was abducted in Kowloon City on November 23, faced the charge of preventing the lawful burial of the baby in Kowloon City Court.
The court heard that Ng had in fact left her daughter unattended at home in San Po Kong Mansion in Choi Hung Road so she could attend a violin class in the morning of November 17. When she returned, the baby was fine.
“Later at 9pm, Ng found (Hoi-ching) showed no signs of life,” court prosecutor Fanny Tou said. “She tried to apply first-aid treatment on the girl.”
The following day, Ng put the baby’s body into a rubbish bin at the rear staircase of the residential building.
Ng did not enter a plea after the charge was read to her. The case was adjourned to January 15, pending further police investigation. She did not apply for bail and has been remanded in custody.
Detectives from the Kowloon West regional crime unit are investigating.
On November 23, police received a report that Hoi-ching had been abducted from her stroller outside Carpenter Road Park in Kowloon City at 7.30pm that day. The mother claimed she had given directions to a middle-aged woman looking for Wong Tai Sin MTR station. She told police that she walked on for a distance before realising that her baby had disappeared from the stroller.
The disappearance of the baby prompted police to mount a huge search in the city. Frontline officers were on high alert and also sought help from the Immigration Department to keep a close eye on travellers with babies at various checkpoints.
On Monday, police arrested Ng after the focus of investigation fell on her as possibly having invented the story.
She is reportedly a mistress of the baby’s father, who is married with three children. He runs a small waste recycling company.