Sad silence of abandoned toddler

NURSES caring for the toddler abandoned during the Lunar New Year fireworks display are concerned because the girl has remained virtually silent since she was found 11 days ago.

Sources at the Chuk Yuen reception centre in Wong Tai Sin said the girl, believed to be about two, had yet to utter one intelligible word.

''She's settling in well and seems a lot happier than when she first arrived,'' a centre spokesman said.

''But we think she still may just be too afraid to speak, although we would have expected a word or two by now.'' Her silence has forced staff to arrange intelligence tests along with other medical examinations to establish her health and exact age.

Other than her unwillingness to talk, the girl appeared a perfectly healthy little girl, the spokesman said.

Police found the girl crying and shivering in a pushchair on the footbridge between the Exchange Square towers as thousands of fireworks spectators headed home when the show ended on Sunday, January 24.

Social Welfare and police officers expressed amazement at her plight, saying it was highly unusual for healthy children to be dumped by a parent or guardian at her age.

Her parents have not yet been found.

Doctors have examined a long scar down her left leg, thought to be six months old, to glean any clues as to where she may have been once treated.

Follow-up computer checks of public hospital records held by the Hospital Authority have proved fruitless.

Checks of private hospitals are still continuing but sources said further checks could be mounted as more information comes to light.