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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong tutor who assaulted 10-year-old boy and sprayed detergent in his face jailed for eight months

Judge dismisses 33-year-old’s claims that she was remorseful and had since reflected on her behaviour after being convicted last month of ill-treatment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 9:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 9:56pm

A Hong Kong private tutor was jailed for eight months on Thursday for assaulting and spraying her 10-year-old student with detergent when he did not finish his homework and scored poorly in a school test.

Chau Kin-ying, 33, argued in mitigation that she had committed the string of attacks on May 2 last year out of concern for the boy. She claimed to have since reflected on her behaviour, which led to her understanding that she had used the wrong methods, and pledged to stop teaching.

Her lawyer Ivan Lee also revealed that she had pleaded not guilty because she wanted to take a chance at trial, in fear that her friends might leave her.

But Magistrate Matthew Leung Man-liang dismissed her claims of remorse and slammed her attitude, which he considered to be inappropriate for a teacher.

“The defendant committed a serious crime,” he said. “[Her] conduct was a serious breach of trust.”

Chau was convicted after trial last month on one count of ill-treatment by those in charge of a child or young person, an offence punishable by three years’ imprisonment.

West Kowloon Court heard the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered a string of 12 attacks from Chau after she was notified by his father that he had missed homework and scored poorly in a dictation test at school.

The boy testified that Chau hit his forearms with a plastic binder and his head with a thick book, punched his left cheek, and pinched his left ear lobe.

He also accused her of pushing his head onto a table, before spraying detergent in his face, wiping his head with dirty towels and kicking him to the floor, then kneeing him in the back.

His father later noticed that the boy’s left cheek and ear were both swollen, and he had multiple wounds on his arms, while his mother reported seeing a footprint on his chest.

Mitigation letters presented by Chau’s friends, students and parents painted the tutor as a patient, loving and responsible teacher who made a mistake out of a moment’s agitation.

But the magistrate ruled that imprisonment was inevitable.

Chau was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, after she was given a one-month discount considering it was her first offence and that it did not happen again.