Hong Kong woman gets 100 hours’ community service for abandoning baby 12 years ago
Magistrate spares housewife, 34, from jail as she was only 22 at the time, and had already been served separate sentence arising from incident
A mother who abandoned her month-old baby outside a building in Yuen Long 12 years ago was sentenced to 100 hours of community service on Thursday.
The 34-year-old housewife, whom the Post has decided not to name to protect the identity of the boy, avoided jail after pleading guilty earlier at Tuen Mun Court to one count of endangering a child’s life.
In sentencing, however, deputy magistrate Pang Leung-ting warned that had the child, who is now under the care of a new family, not been discovered, he might not have lived.
But the magistrate took into consideration that the mother was only 22 at the time, and that she had already been jailed once over another offence arising from this incident.
Before sentencing, the magistrate specifically demanded that probation officers not contact the boy when writing reports on the mother, saying that the news would be “a bolt from the blue” for him. The boy supposedly has yet to learn about her.
The mother, wearing sunglasses, did not comment on whether she intended to reconcile with the boy when she left court.
The case came to light after a city-wide probe by the Hong Kong Immigration Department following the discovery of an undocumented teenager, who plunged to her death at Repulse Bay last year. The 15-year-old girl’s British father Nick Cousins, an insurance broker, was given a suspended sentence, and her Filipino mother Herminia Garcia, a jail term of 12 months, for their failure to register their daughters.
The mother in the present case was jailed 14 days in an earlier case after she was found guilty of misleading the Immigration Department by falsely denying her parental status upon an inquiry by the department.
In a previous hearing, the court heard that the mother gave birth to the boy on October 31, 2004, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Park in Kowloon.
Instead of registering the child, she left the baby outside a building in Yuen Long about a month later.
She told police after her arrest in March this year that she felt helpless because she had failed to contact the father of the boy, a senior staff member at a textile company, a month prior to giving birth.
Her lawyer told the court in mitigation earlier that her client, who had been dumped in two relationships, did so because she felt lost and was left with HK$20 at the time. The mother left clothes to keep the baby warm and returned to where she left him the following day, the lawyer said earlier.
According to a probation report, the remorseful mother has gone from her chaotic life then to a stable one after marrying her current husband, who accompanied her to court on Thursday.