A jobless father who killed his autistic son by slashing the 15-year-old boy around 100 times pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the High Court on Wednesday.
Choy Sin-hung, 61, claimed he was getting old and feared that after his death, no one would take care of the boy. Choy also intended to kill himself, the court heard.
The court yesterday heard that Choy attacked his son Choy On-yu, 15, at their Yuen Long home while his mother was working in Shenzhen on June 27, 2014. The father then phoned the police.
The tragedy reflected a lack of support given to families of those who suffer from mental health issues in Hong Kong, said an expert.
“Those suffering from conditions such as autism might have quite disruptive social behaviours that can put a lot of pressure on their caregivers,” said psychiatrist Dr Ivan Mak Wing-chit.
“Since they have difficulties in social situations, it might seem like they don’t appreciate their caregivers, creating more tension and stress.”
Mak said it is more difficult to care for autistic patients when they become teenagers as their moods may fluctuate, resulting in violent behaviour.
In response to inquiries by Young Post, a Hospital Authority spokesperson said they had been adopting an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to ensure patients with mental health problems had adequate psychiatric support.
A Social Welfare Department (SWD) spokesperson also said there had been a major push to support mentally ill patients and their families by implementing a 30-month pilot scheme on “Strengthening Support for Persons with Autism and their Parents / Carers” in April 2016.
But any success the scheme is having has been overshadowed by another tragedy earlier this month, when a 63-year-old with mental problems set himself on fire, killing himself and three other people in Kennedy Town.