Disabled boy died after mother and boyfriend smoked Ice while feeding him milk, Hong Kong inquest hears
Jobless woman admitted to police that her behaviour was ‘a little bit problematic’
The unemployed mother of a five-year-old disabled boy who died with traces of methamphetamine in his body took it in turns to smoke the drug with her boyfriend while feeding milk to her son, an inquest was told on Wednesday.
“It was a little bit problematic,” Wong Pui-lin told police when questioned about her behaviour, coroner Ko Wai-hung heard. “But I wasn’t blowing it towards [my son].”
Yeung Chi-wai, who had Down’s syndrome, was certified dead in the early hours of March 23, 2013, at North District Hospital in Sheung Shui.
His cause of death was linked to methamphetamine, or Ice, as seven micrograms of the drug was found in his blood, with traces in his urine.
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When his mother, then 35, was arrested for child neglect causing death on June 13 that year, she admitted taking the drug with her boyfriend, Ngan Tin-hung, then 37, the night before the boy was taken to hospital.
The mother of four told police that after dinner on March 22 she went out for a late night stroll. “I told my boyfriend to keep an eye on my son – that I was going out.”
But she returned to find Ngan holding her son’s neck with his left hand and a bottle of methamphetamine in the other.
The two were sitting less than a metre apart on their bed, Wong said, adding that the room was stuffy as the windows were only slightly opened while the door was half closed.
Wong recalled asking if Ngan’s hands were clean, before she left to prepare a bottle of milk for her son and returned to feed him.
“I fed the boy while [Ngan] continued taking the drug, I reminded him not to blow this way,” she said. “Then we switched halfway through the bottle. I took two sips [of the drug] and went to tidy things in the living room.”
In a separate interview taken on the same day, Ngan told police that Chi-wai started vomiting while he was feeding.
The boy was then taken to shower, after which he vomited again and began rolling his eyes. The pair then called an ambulance.
“I told rescuers he choked and threw up milk but I did not mention I was taking drugs,” Ngan said in a recorded interview. “It was not until our arrest today that I knew our behaviour could affect children. Perhaps I was careless at the time.”
Ngan said he had never previously taken the drug in the same room with Yeung.
“As adults we knew taking methamphetamine is not a good thing,” he said.
He told police he was sure he did not mix up the bottles but he conceded it was possible some drugs dropped on the bed sheets when he unpacked it.
The boy may have also have breathed in the smoke, Ngan added, but he said he only took the drugs for about 20 minutes.
Both Wong and Ngan were previously cleared of child abuse charges.
The inquest continues on Monday.