A judge who jailed two child minders for severely abusing a nine-month-old baby said yesterday the offences might not have occurred if the mother had visited the child more often. Judge Maggie Poon Man-kay said: 'The mother chose to continue her holidays in Cheung Chau and left the sick victim to the child minders.' Minders Tong Yat-keung, 27, and Hui Chiu-lai, 21, called the mother in April to tell her the baby was sick but the mother decided to remain on Cheung Chau, the District Court heard. Although Judge Poon believed the mother had been irresponsible for leaving her baby for so long, she said the minders had breached the trust placed in them by the child's parents. Tong and Hui pleaded guilty in the District Court on November 26 to cruelty to Kwan Hok-hin whose mental development doctors say was stunted by the experience. Judge Poon, who took into account their guilty pleas and clean records when passing sentence, jailed Tong for 28 months and Hui for nine months. William Allan, defending Tong, said in mitigation the defendants now had their own one-year-old child to look after and urged the judge not to impose a custodial sentence. Sabrina See, for Hui, said the defendant regretted what she had done and was worried about the victim's condition. She said Hui had not intended to harm the child. She quoted from the probation officer's report which said Hui was an 'immature, playful young girl'. In December last year, the baby was entrusted to Hui and Tong day and night in their Tai Kok Tsui home by his parents, both of whom worked. The parents agreed to pay the defendants $5,500 a month to care for him. When the mother visited her son in May, she noticed his neglected condition and took him to hospital. He was found to be anaemic, suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. He was also bruised and had deep wounds from being tied up and struck by the minders, the court was told. The baby's parents were two months behind on their payments and this made the minders angry, the court heard.