Hong Kong judge slams woman convicted of neglecting ‘Cinderella’ daughter over lack of remorse
Judge Kevin Zervos said it was time for someone to speak up for Suki Ling Yun-lam, 7, as she could no longer do it for herself
The judge sentencing a woman convicted of neglecting her seven-year-old daughter to the point where she was “corpse-like” with irreversible brain damage cast doubt on the mother’s expressions of remorse and likened the child to “Cinderella” on Thursday, saying she was unwanted by the family.
High Court judge Mr Justice Kevin Zervos was sceptical when defence counsel Leung Chun-keung, for Mandy Wong Wing-man, 42, told him that Suki Ling Yun-lam might originally have suffered from some unknown underlying conditions in the first place.
Wong was found guilty on Wednesday of neglecting Suki to a point where the girl, now bedridden and with only limited eye movement, suffered a cardiac arrest in 2015.
Leung argued that Suki herself might have refused to eat on one occasion when Wong had beaten her. He said one of Suki’s sisters, who had also chastised her, backed up the incident.
“If [Suki] suffers from a condition, causing her to refuse her to eat, the picture will be different,” Leung said, citing the possibility of anorexia.
But Zervos said he had difficulty understanding why the barrister had essentially admitted that his client had subjected her daughter to assaults to show she did not fail to provide food.
Leung had also revealed that Suki was subjected to “beating, isolation and mistreatments” by the household, Zervos said.
The judge called Suki the “Cinderella” and “unwanted child” in Wong’s family, citing testimony that all three of Suki’s siblings were highly regarded by the mother, but she was not.
“But unlike Cinderella, there is no fairy tale ending for her, is there?” Zervos said, adding that it was time for someone to speak up for Suki, who now had no way of speaking for herself.
“It’s a serious reflection on your client not showing any remorse at all, having been convicted by the jury.”
During the 48-day trial, the court heard that Wong, also known as Wang Xuexin, had moved to Hong Kong from mainland China in 2012 with three of her four children. She brought Suki to the city in 2014.
Suki was enrolled in a local kindergarten that year but soon signs of injuries began to surface and by April 2015, she was no longer attending school.
On July 18, Wong took Suki to the emergency department of Yan Chai Hospital, where a nurse mistook her for a “corpse” at first sight. She was found to be suffering from cardiac arrest and appeared “pale and without a pulse” upon arrival.
Wong was also found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of public justice while her ex-husband Rocky Ling Yiu-chung, 52, was found guilty of one count of the same charge for later covering up Wong’s crime. She faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in jail for neglect. Each count of perverting the course of justice carries a penalty of up to seven years behind bars.
Prosecutor Duncan Percy on Thursday read out a medical report on Suki’s condition as recorded in March.
Apart from being reduced to limited eye movements, Percy said Suki was fully dependent on gastrostomy – a surgical opening into the stomach for feeding – as she could not eat food. She also had a few episodes of “coffee brown vomiting”. X-rays also showed severe deformities on her left ankle and a hip dislocation at one point.
The mitigation session continues on June 28.