Woman under observation at Hong Kong hospital after three-year-old daughter found dead
Mental state of woman, suspected of strangling her child, to be examined
A 30-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of strangling her three-year-old daughter at their home in Fanling was under observation in a mental hospital yesterday.
On Wednesday, the father, 34, received a call from his wife, and he said she told him she had attacked their daughter. The India-born girl, the couple’s only child, was to turn four next week.
The Indian man returned home to find the girl unconscious on a bed at their home in Cheung Tak House, Cheung Wah Estate. He called police at about 5.10pm that day. According to police, bruises were found on her neck.
The girl was sent to North District Hospital, where she was declared dead about an hour later.
Chief Inspector Kwong Yim-chun of the Tai Po district crime squad said the mother’s mental state during the alleged murder would be examined.
A police source said the Indian woman was arrested in connection with the case after initial investigation showed she had strangled her daughter with her bare hands. The woman was sent to North District Hospital in Tai Po and later transferred to Castle Peak Hospital – a public psychiatric hospital – in Tuen Mun.
She was understood to have received outpatient care at the North District Hospital psychiatric department since 2014. “We were told her condition was stable as she had been attending consultations and taking medication regularly,” the source said.
According to police, a postmortem examination would be carried out today. Last night, the woman was still held in the custodial ward of Castle Peak Hospital. She has not been charged.
The father, an engineer, came to the city to work in 2012 and his wife and daughter arrived late in 2013.A spokeswoman for the Social Welfare Department said the department and community centres for mental wellness under the department had not been following up on the family’s case. She said its social workers had met the husband on Thursday morning to provide emotional counselling and other social welfare information.
Karen Lau, research and advocacy co-ordinator of humanitarian organisation Health in Action, said language was the biggest obstacle for ethnic minorities to seek help on emotional issues and other problems. She said although the Hospital Authority provides medical translators, they are not based in hospitals and because it takes time for them to arrive at specific hospitals during emergencies, busy frontline medical staff are often unwilling to help request for them.
Lau urged the authority to assign hospital-based translators to better facilitate the need of ethnic minorities.