Hong Kong domestic helper in custody over suspected strangling of toddler

Investigations continued on Tuesday into the death of the two-year-old boy at a Central Park Tower apartment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 10:58pm

A domestic helper remained in police custody on Tuesday evening after being arrested on suspicion of strangling a two-year-old Indian boy in her care in Tin Shui Wai, a police source has said.

Officers were working on a theory that the woman, 22, may have developed mental health problems after becoming homesick, according to the source.

The Indian helper came to Hong Kong about seven months ago to work for the boy’s parents, aged 33 and 39, who lived in a Central Park Tower apartment on Tin Yan Road in Tin Shui Wai, police said.

The suspected murder took place in the flat sometime between 8am and 10.30am on Monday morning when the helper was left to take care of the toddler after the couple left for work at about 8am. The apartment was fitted with two surveillance cameras.

Domestic helper arrested for alleged murder of toddler in Tin Shui Wai

“Initial investigations showed the surveillance camera system was disconnected and the helper left the apartment at around 10.30am,” a police source said.

The case came to light after the father, who was at the office of his trading company in Kowloon, found the cameras were not working at about 11am. Feeling suspicious, he then asked his neighbour to check the home, but no one answered the door.

When the couple returned home, they found their son unconscious in bed and the domestic helper was missing.

The mother then called police at about midday.

According to police, the pair took a taxi and brought the boy to Tuen Mun Hospital, where he was declared dead shortly after 12.30pm.

The child had no apparent injuries but blood was found in his nose. Detectives are investigating whether it was related to the attack. According to police, an autopsy will be carried out on Wednesday to establish the cause of death.

A manhunt for the helper was launched shortly after he was declared dead. A patrolling officer found her wandering in a secluded area in Lau Fau Shan at about 2pm.

Police reclassified the case as murder and arrested the woman in connection with the case late on Monday night after an interview.

Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po of Yuen Long district crime squad said the domestic helper was getting along well with her employer over the past seven months and officers were still investigating the motive being the suspected crime.

At about 4.30pm on Tuesday, the hooded and chained suspect wearing a blue T-shirt and a vest was escorted to the Tin Shui Wai flat by police for a crime reconstruction, which lasted more than half an hour and was video-recorded.

The woman was being detained at Tin Shui Wai police station for questioning on Tuesday evening. No charges had been filed.