2nd December 2023 – (Hong Kong) In Lei Cheng Uk Estate, Cheung Sha Wan, a 7-month-old baby boy was found alone in a squalid apartment during a routine rent collection by the building security on 2nd December. The 22-year-old father, Mr. Chow, turned up later and was arrested. The neglected child, although weak, was not in severe danger and was taken to the hospital for medical attention.
The incident took place in an apartment on the 15th floor of Wo Ping House, a building within the Lei Cheng Uk Estate. Responding to a distress call from a security officer, local police arrived at the scene around 4 PM. The security officer had reported hearing a baby’s cries from the apartment since morning, which had not subsided by the afternoon. Despite the unit being locked and seemingly unoccupied, the baby’s persistent cries prompted the officer’s concern and subsequent distress call.
Upon arrival, the emergency personnel were forced to break down the door to the apartment. They discovered the infant inside, noticeably underweight but otherwise uninjured. The apartment, which housed a cat and was in appalling sanitary conditions, emitted a foul odour.
The registered occupants of the apartment were understood to be two sisters. The younger sister, currently housed in a Fanling institution under the Social Welfare Department’s supervision, does not reside in the apartment. The older sister, who lives there with her 7-month-old son, has been consistently late with rent payments. Despite numerous attempts by the security staff to collect the overdue rent, the apartment remained locked and unresponsive.
Earlier that day, the security officer had attempted to contact the female tenant. The baby’s cries were audible from within the locked apartment, but there was no answer when the officer knocked. Later that afternoon, the apartment door was found partially open, but the metal gate was still locked. The baby’s cries continued, and the officer noticed an infant in a crib in the living room through the door gap. With no other individuals in sight, the officer called the police.
Firefighters and police officers had to cut the lock to rescue the roughly five-month-old baby boy. Although he had no visible injuries, he was incredibly thin and was transported to Caritas Medical Centre for treatment. Police were able to get in touch with the baby’s mother, who promised to pick up her son from the hospital but did not show up. The baby’s father, Mr. Chow, later appeared to assist in the investigation and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of child abuse. The case is now under investigation by the Sham Shui Po District Criminal Investigation Team.
Representatives from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were also called to the scene to check on the condition of the cat. Initial findings confirmed that the apartment housed a male British Shorthair cat, whose age was undetermined. However, it was determined that the cat was not abused. The representatives subsequently left the scene without removing the cat.