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Hong Kong courts

Father jailed for six years for slapping and shaking newborn daughter who remains on life support in Hong Kong hospital

Justice Anthea Pang told Chung Kei-yuen the damage he inflicted on his daughter was ‘no different from claiming her life’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 6:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 11:34pm

A Hong Kong father was on Tuesday jailed for more than six years for slapping and shaking his newborn daughter so hard it left her blind and dependent on life support.

Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam told Chung Kei-yuen, 26, that the harm he had inflicted on his daughter was no different from claiming her life. Pang adopted a starting point for sentencing of eight years, against a maximum of 10. Chung received a discount on the sentence for his timely plea.

The High Court previously heard how Chung had assaulted his child on three occasions in December 2016, each time slapping and shaking her multiple times after he had his sleep interrupted by the infant.

The baby stopped crying on the last of those three occasions on December 28. Her silence prompted Chung to pinch her face, conduct online research using the term “bb’s body turning cold”, and threaten his mother-in-law with a cleaver when she asked whether the child might have died.

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The girl was sent to hospital four hours after her mother saw Chung google “shaken baby syndrome”.

Pang said: “The day she turned a month old was the day she was sent to hospital for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”

She slammed Chung for forcefully striking his baby, who weighed just 2.8kg, when there was such disparity between their strength that a single slap was enough to cause serious harm.

Chung, who pleaded guilty to three counts of wilful assault and one of criminal intimidation, kept his head low in the dock.

His defence counsel Paul Leung Po-sang had argued in mitigation that Chung had been under a lot of stress as the girl’s primary carer, working long shifts in a kitchen while the baby’s mother spent most of her time online.

But the judge saw through this story, noting Chung had also admitted he rarely held his daughter and that he had snatched the baby from her mother on December 28.

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Pang also noticed Chung had told psychiatrists he only “patted” his daughter to stop her crying, which showed he had no remorse and was trying to evade responsibility.

Chung was jailed for six years and three months for wilful assault, after Pang gave him a 22 per cent sentence reduction for his timely plea. With the penalty for criminal intimidation, he will serve a total of six years, four months and 15 days.

The girl remains in critical condition in hospital, relying on life support to help her breathe while receiving medication fed through tubes.

Her visual impairment is expected to accompany her through life.