Parents in vigil for missing son

POLICE and the family of a 41/2-year-old boy who went missing during lunch at a Tsuen Wan restaurant on Sunday afternoon were still scouring the area for the boy early this morning.

Chan Ho-ming, who attends a kindergarten at Cheung On estate on Tsing Yi Island, has short hair and is about one metre tall. He was last seen wearing a blue sports suit and white sports shoes.

The boy's parents, Mr Chan Wing-wah and his wife, Ms Hui Kin-sun, and a large number of relatives have been touring Tsuen Wan area around the clock.

The parents returned to their Tsing Yi home only at six o'clock last night for a short rest.

''We will be out searching again,'' Ms Hui, who had lost her voice after hours of calling her son's name, said.

She said Ho-ming only knew how to say his name. He does not know his home address or any of the family's telephone numbers.

Ho-ming was last seen playing alone on the ground floor of Hang Fook Lau Seafood Restaurant in Chuen Lung Street, where his parents, his eight-year-old brother and some of their relatives were having lunch.

''We only discovered Ho-ming missing when we asked the waiter for the bill,'' Mr Chan said.

''We searched the whole restaurant while some of our relatives searched the nearby streets, but still found no trace of him.'' He said a report was later made to police and officers immediately joined them on the search - first by foot and later cruising the area in a police vehicle.

''He is too young to take care of himself,'' Ms Hui said.

''Besides, he is presently taking 'flu medicine which had been prescribed by a doctor.

''I only hope the police find him soon.'' The weather forecast for last night warned of a cold front moving in and temperatures falling to 16 degrees Celsius.

''Ho-ming has no money and could be hungry and frightened,'' Ms Hui said.

She said the boy liked to play Gameboy and other electronic games.

''We have already searched every games centre in the district, but failed to find him,'' she said.

Ms Hui said her other son, Ho-chuen, had become quiet, obviously deeply affected by his brother's failure to return home.

Mr Chan said that he and his wife did not believe their son had been abducted as the family had no enemies and no one had contacted them after Ho-ming's disappearance.

He believed his son could have wandered away from the restaurant and been unable to find his way back.

He said Tsuen Wan police were doing all they could, with patrolling and mobile officers told to keep a lookout for the boy.

A special team of detectives headed by Inspector Tang Chun-wah have also joined the hunt.

A police vehicle was positioned outside the restaurant throughout yesterday with the boy's photograph posted on its side.

Officers used a loud-hailer to ask residents whether they had seen a small boy.

Anyone who has any information is asked to phone Tsuen Wan police on 417 5258 or the police hotline, 527 7177.