Lawmakers urge support for caretakers after mother strangles disabled son before attempting suicide

The Kwai Chung housing estate where a mother allegedly murdered her disabled son on Sept. 5, 2020. Photo via Apple Daily
The Kwai Chung housing estate where a mother allegedly murdered her disabled son on Sept. 5, 2020. Photo via Apple Daily

Lawmakers from the pro-establishment and pan-democrat camp are urging the government to provide more support for guardians caring for disabled family members.

The calls follow a tragedy earlier this month when a mother strangled her 21-year-old mentally ill son to death in their Kwai Chung housing estate.

“It’s been some time since [the incident], yet we cannot see the government, or the [relevant] departments, responding with any specific measures to prevent another tragedy from happening,” lawmaker Roy Kwong said on Monday.

Kwong, who chairs the Legislative Council’s welfare services panel, said he has called for a special meeting next week to discuss the issue.

Among the topics to probe, he added, include the long wait time for residential care services for persons with disabilities

From 2017 to 2018, Kwong said, the average disabled person had to wait 15 years for a place in a government-subsidised care home, where qualified staff take care of residents round the clock.

“The wait times are getting longer and longer,” Kwong said, adding that the average wait time was 10 years from 2015 to 2016.

On Sept. 5, police arrested a 46-year-old woman after she allegedly strangled her 21-year-old son, who suffers from an intellectual disability, with plastic bags at around 3 in the morning.

The woman also sustained cuts to her wrist. It is understood that she had attempted to end her own life after killing her son.

Lawmakers said the tragedy is the latest incident reflecting the lack of support given to families of those suffering from mental health issues.

In 2014, a father slashed his autistic teenage son before attempting to kill himself. According to court records, the father said he was getting old and feared that nobody would take care of the boy.

More recently, in 2017, an 81-year-old man killed his physically disabled wife. He was afraid no one would look after his 76-year-old wife, who is unable to walk, if he died.

In a Monday press conference with caretakers of mentally ill family members, pro-establishment lawmakers Elizabeth Quat and Leung Che-cheung urged the government to raise the monthly subsidies for families from HK$2,400 (US$310) to at least HK$3,000 (US$387).

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWS

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