Print Email A seven-year-old girl living in a Kwai Chung small group home was sexually assaulted at least twice by a nine-year-old boy, who forced her to take off her clothes and perform oral sex on him.
The same older boy then told her and the seven-year-old boy to take off their clothes. Why would such an incident happen in such a safe place? Ms Fan, mother of victim The care home staff did not directly inform Fan about the incidents, instead asking the girl to tell her mother what occurred. But the girl was too upset to say what happened after she took off her clothes. The alarms that were supposed to alert staff when children entered rooms for residents of the opposite sex had been switched off, as the husband of a staff member, who also stayed at the home, wanted to rest.
Fan made a police report at the New Territories South regional headquarters, but was told that children under 10 could not be charged. Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who has been assisting Fan and her daughter, said the department intervened in January and confirmed the case to be one of children being sexually assaulted. Counselling was arranged for the girl. Was there a problem if the warden was not there?
The Social Welfare Department has guidelines and procedures on regulation, but were they fully complied with? The operator of the home concerned was asked to submit a report and enhance measures protecting the children. The operator has also formed a designated investigation panel and assigned extra manpower to take care of the children and conduct checks on rooms.
A police spokesman said they received a referral from a government department on December 29 for a case involving a nine-year-old boy suspected of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl in a care home in Kwai Chung. The case was considered an indecent assault and was followed up by the crime squad from the New Territories South regional headquarters. While a charge could not be made against the boy, who was under 10, he was given a verbal warning.
Eric Cheung Tat-ming, a legal scholar from the University of Hong Kong, said the age of criminal responsibility in Hong Kong was seven before It was raised as it was believed that children under 10 should not face criminal prosecution. Lawmaker Fernando Cheung, a registered social worker, said regulation for small group homes was rather loose, and sudden visits by officers were rare.
He said that in the long run, there should be proper training of staff at these homes to teach them how to identify similar problems earlier. In , at least two sexual assault cases took place at a small group home in Tsing Yi operated by Sheng Kung Hui St. In a separate incident in October, an year-old boy forced a six-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him. Both cases were reported to police.
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