Worker in Hong Kong care home says photo of mentally disabled patient with tape stuck to nipples taken for fun, court told

Former staff face charges of common assault and obtaining a computer with a view to dishonest gain

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2016, 4:28pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2016, 9:28pm

Two staff of a Ma On Shan care home were behind at least one photograph of a mentally disabled resident who had adhesive tape stuck to his nipples, a court heard on Wednesday, with one of them suggesting it was done “for fun”.

The details emerged when Seto Man-yuk and Philips Ng Kin-ho, who were from the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council Harmony Manor, were interviewed by their former boss Leung Kam-wing in an internal investigation on January 6, a day after the alleged incident, Sha Tin Court heard.

Leung, assistant service superintendent of the home, testified that Seto allegedly asked Ng to get Seto’s phone on the night of January 5. Ng returned and allegedly photographed Tran Wai-kin, 24, who has limited speech abilities and suffers from autism, Leung recalled being told.

On that night, Tran was half-naked with red adhesive tape in the shape of a cross stuck to his nipples, the court heard before.

When Tran laughed, “[Seto] found that he looked like the boyfriend of the sister of ‘Wong Kit’, another staff member”, Leung recalled being told during the internal probe.

The defendants’ lawyers are asking the court to ignore the probe on the grounds that their clients were not informed of their rights when they gave their accounts.

Asked why Ng took the pictures, Leung quoted him as saying: “For fun.”

Seto, 25, and Ng, 28, denied one count of obtaining a computer with a view to dishonest gain for taking photos of Tran.

Their former colleagues Chan Ma-lee, 28, and Tam Cheuk-yu, 24, each pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault for their treatment of another resident, Wong Fei, 32.

Leung testified on Wednesday that during the internal investigation, Chan admitted to putting red adhesive tape on Tran’s nipples and on Wong’s nails as well as his bed.

Wong, who suffers from autism and marble bone disease, also did not like it when adhesive labels were not used in a neat manner, Leung said.

Tam told Leung in the investigation that the staff on duty that night decided to put tape, on one of which Tam wrote Wong’s name, on him and his bed because they wanted to make him scream.

It was their way, Leung said he was told, of trying to make Wong tired to get him to sleep better at night.

But Leung, a registered social worker, said he would not have let his staff adopt this method had he known, as it was threatening to the occupant and kept him screaming for a while.

But in cross-examination, Leung agreed to the suggestion from Seto’s senior counsel John Reading that his client told Leung they photograped Tran because he looked “cute”.

The trial continues before Magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei on Thursday.