Hong Kong father jailed after attempting to feed his two young children rat poison
Judge blasts 36-year-old man who ‘allowed himself to be so influenced by alcohol that he could harm his children’
A drunken father accused of trying to force his children to drink rat poison was jailed for two years on Wednesday by a judge who lectured him about the devastating effect alcohol can have on families.
The father, referred to as CSK in court to protect his family, admitted last month one count of wilful assault on a young person on February 6 last year.
The court heard earlier that the financially burdened father returned to the family’s Tuen Mun home drunk that night, and tried to force his son, six, and his daughter, eight, to drink the poison. Unsuccessful, he then picked the girl up by her throat.
Sentencing the father to two years, Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay warned him: “Alcohol is a solvent which, if [someone gets] addicted, can dissolve families and careers.”
The judge went on to criticise the defendant for being “impulsive and unresponsive”, adding that harming children was one of “the most dreadful” crimes. Society, she said, expects parents to control their emotions.
Yet, she said, “the defendant allowed himself to be so influenced by the alcohol that he could harm his children”.
Had his aggression not been stopped by an aunt at the scene, she added, the result could have been “disastrous” and “irreversible”.
But after the 35-year-old pleaded guilty, his children submitted mitigation letters saying they longed for a chance to reunite with their father. The judge took note of the letters, saying she had struck a balance in the “difficult task” of sentencing, while acknowledging that the father’s act had not caused any permanent physical harm to the children.
According to the prosecutors, CSK returned home drunk that night, shortly before he unleashed the assault on the two children.
He then told the two to drink the rat poison, adding that he would kill himself after they drank it.
He was stopped by the children’s aunt, who was taking care of them that night.
But when the aunt rushed to pour the poison down the toilet, the father turned to the girl and lifted her from the floor by the neck, causing her to become dizzy and out of breath.
Even after the aunt came to her rescue and locked the two children in a room, the father continued with his threats to kill the girl, as he kicked the bedroom door. Police arrived at the scene and arrested the father.
CSK’s lawyers told the court earlier that he was struggling financially after leaving his job as a clerk at a funeral home to become a salesman.
But Poon told him, before sending him away: “Whatever problem you have in life, you should not vent your emotion on helpless … children.”
The judge also said he should set an example for his children.