Woman jailed nine weeks for smearing chilli on face of child, 8, and slapping her thrice for misbehaving

She had moved in with the child’s family and was entrusted with the care of the girl after the mother moved out

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 7:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 7:00am

A Filipino woman who smeared chilli onto an eight-year-old girl’s face and slapped the child three times for refusing to shower and daring to talk back, was jailed for nine weeks on Monday by Kowloon City Court.

Deputy Magistrate Gary Chu Man-hon said the court must protect defenceless children as he sentenced Ika Autria Reni, 31, who pleaded guilty to one count of ill-treatment or neglect while in charge of a child or young person.

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The court heard that Reni moved in with the Hong Kong girl’s family in mid-2012 because she had no place to live and the girl’s stepfather was a fellow Filipino.

Reni was entrusted with the care of the girl, after her mother fought with her father and moved out of their Sham Shui Po flat on December 12, 2014.

The mother called her daughter every night – until January 20, 2015 when Reni was said to have snatched away the telephone and terminated the call.

The girl reported to her mother two days later that Reni had slapped her thrice and smeared chilli on her face.

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Subsequent checks at Caritas Medical Centre did not find any wounds on the child.

When Reni was arrested the next day, she said: “I hit her with very little force; it was the mother who asked me to smear chilli on her daughter’s face.”

She further admitted to police that she covered the girl’s mouth and smeared chilli on her because the child was not following instructions, refusing to shower and talking back.

The magistrate said Reni’s actions were very cruel as the victim would not know how to protect herself, resist or complain about violent treatment since she was only eight.

Reni’s jail term of five weeks was aggravated by the fact that the offence was committed while she was on a suspended sentence for a separate case.