A single mother left her two young daughters home alone to go gambling in Macau and did not return for a week - even after learning they had been taken into care, a court heard yesterday. The 41-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not return because she had 'lost her mind in gambling', Kwun Tong Court was told. Describing the case as serious child abuse, Magistrate Johnny Chan Jong-herng called for social welfare reports on the girls, aged eight and nine, before passing sentence on January 11. He remanded the mother, who pleaded guilty to two charges of abuse, in custody to that date. The court heard that the unemployed mother had left the girls with HK$160 before leaving for Macau on the night of Friday, October 5. The sisters took care of themselves during the weekend and went to school by themselves on Monday. A school social worker alerted police, who placed the sisters - who had not suffered any physical harm - in the care of the Po Leung Kuk. The court heard that the mother did not return until October 13, despite being notified by the social worker three days earlier that the girls were in care. Defence counsel Liza Yip said her client had planned to gamble for just a few hours but overindulged and stayed longer than she thought. 'When I asked her why she didn't return home sooner, she said she had lost her mind gambling in Macau,' Ms Yip said. The single mother was under tremendous stress at the time because she was involved in a separate criminal case and had just been evicted from her flat, her lawyer said. Describing the case as an isolated incident, Ms Yip said the mother had sought help with her gambling problems and stress management. Mr Chan called for reports on the mother and her daughters and ordered court probation officers to offer assistance to the sisters. Outside court, the girls said the school social worker had called police after a teacher found a test completed by the younger one had not been signed by a parent and asked about it.