Child abuse case opened in Hong Kong after man 'beats children in the street'

A man was arrested after a passer-by called police saying they saw him beating his nine-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter on a Hong Kong street late on Sunday.

Officers said the 40-year-old was accused of slapping and kicking his two children on Kwai Luen Road, Kwai Chung, soon after 11.30pm.

A 44-year-old passer-by called police.

The boy had slight facial injuries and his sister suffered minor leg injuries, according to officers. The children's mother told them the pair did not need hospital treatment.

Detectives from Kwai Chung criminal investigation unit classified the case as child abuse. The suspect had been released on bail pending further investigation, and was required to report back to police next month.

In Hong Kong, ill-treatment or neglect of a child carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In the first three months of this year, the Social Welfare Department handled 237 new cases of child abuse. The number of such cases hit a 14-year high in the city last year, when the department's child protection registry recorded 1,064 new cases, compared with 947 in 2017.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.