Canto-pop singer and composer Dominic Chow Kai-seng was sentenced to 80 hours community service today for leaving his 13-year-old autistic and epileptic son home alone for more than a week.
Chow, 53, pleaded guilty last month to leaving his son at home alone between May 24 to June 2 last year in his Happy Valley apartment.
He repeated the plea at the Eastern Court today but voiced disagreement to part of a court report which cited his ex-wife’s statement.
He said his ex-wife and birth mother to the boy knew his address and phone number and had also taken their son out once or twice, which differed from her statement in the report.
The judge told Chow that if he failed to perform his community service he would reconsider his sentence.
Chow was arrested in June last year in his flat in Shing Wo Road just after midnight when he returned from a trip to the mainland.
Neighbours called police when Chow’s son was found wandering around outside and they feared for his safety. Police found the boy alone in the flat.
The court had previously heard that police found the singer-songwriter’s flat in disarray, with a bad smell, with the boy home alone without any adult supervision. Police had a hard time communicating with the boy – diagnosed with autism and epilepsy – who kept biting himself and laughing.
When he got home, Chow was arrested on suspicion of ill-treating his son.
The court was told that Chow had arranged for two friends to care for his son, bringing him food in the morning and seeing him off to school at the bus stop, picking him up after school and caring for him in the evening.
Chow also arranged for friends to stay with his son during the day when there was no school. But his son would spend nights alone on the basis that he would be sleeping.
Chow is a veteran singer-songwriter and a music producer. The son of veteran actor Chow Kat, Chow learned how to write music from the “godfather” of Canto-pop, composer Joseph Koo Ka-fai, before building a career in music in the 1980s.
He became the music director for television station ATV when he was 21 and has written more than 300 songs over the years, ranging in genre from pop to jazz and electronic music.
Coming from a classical and rock music background, Chow also worked on film scores and was nominated for best movie theme song at the Golden Horse Film Awards in 1989.