A couple were placed on probation yesterday for a year for shutting their daughter out of the home as punishment for returning late from school. Tsuen Wan Court was told the nine-year-old girl was left loitering outside for more than six hours. A security guard at Cheung Wang Estate, Tsing Yi, became concerned that the girl had been outside from 9pm to 3.30am and called the police, who arrested Tang Wai-keung, 41, and Ip Chui-yin, 35. The couple pleaded guilty to ill-treatment and neglect of their only child. The girl, who attended the sentencing hearing yesterday, pleaded in a mitigation letter for leniency for her parents and said she wanted her family to be reunited soon. The mother wrote that she was remorseful for what she did and promised not to repeat the offence. Magistrate Lambert Lee Ka-chai accepted that the family had a close relationship and that the couple had made a mistake because they did not know it was wrong. Lee said he decided to impose a probation order rather than order the parents to perform community work, because he did not want to deprive the couple of time they could spend taking care of their daughter.