The grandmother of a 12-year-old mainland boy who lived undocumented in the city for nine years pleaded guilty yesterday in Sha Tin Court to one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a breach of conditions of stay.
Dressed in grey from top to bottom, Chow Siu-shuen, 66, was released on HK$500 bail after a mitigation plea.
Principal Magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung was told Chow had never reaped any economic gains from helping her grandson, Xiao Youhuai, breach his conditions of stay, doing it out of love as “he would die” on his own.
Ma ruled there was a case to answer but he would have to wait for probation and background reports to be conducted to independently verify her claims. He said that while such cases usually involved immediate custodial sentencing, the court was adopting an “open attitude” pending the reports.
The court was told the boy had been abandoned by his mother – Chow’s eldest daughter from her first marriage – “naked and covered in blood from birth” in a cardboard box left in a rural area of Shantou’s Chaoyang city.
According to Chow, Youhuai’s mother originally wanted an abortion but was told by doctors that she was too late into her pregnancy. After his birth, she refused to take the child.
In 2006, Chow brought Youhuai to Hong Kong on a two-way permit, which he then overstayed until Chow they turned themselves in to the authorities in May after reading about the suicide of a girl with no legal documents in Hong Kong a few months beforehand.
Chow’s lawyers stressed she was not in good health and her 76-year-old husband was suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Youhuai, now in Shenzhen, had been “crying every night, unable to sleep and suffering from mental pressures”.
As she left court, Chow said she did not know what she would do if she had to serve jail time. Returning Youhuai to his mother, with whom she had an estranged relationship, was not an option as she had once told her “to make him die”. His grandfather was also too old to help.
“Before [Youhuai] said he would do his best to study and write, but he’s giving up on everything now,” she said. “He said life is now over. There is nothing.”
Sentencing was adjourned to November 10.