Wandering boy's HK dad suspected of neglect

The father of a boy who had been found walking alone around Marina Promenade on Monday evening has been identified as a 45-year-old Hong Kong resident.

The man, whose surname is Chen, was arrested on Friday night by the Hong Kong police at a public housing estate in Kowloon.

Police suspect him of ill-treatment, said a Hong Kong police spokesman.

The spokesman said they were approached by the Singapore police to help locate the family of the boy, 11, in Hong Kong.

Initial investigations revealed that the boy's father travelled to Singapore with him on Monday.

The father returned home to Hong Kong two days later without the boy.

"We will be working with the Singapore police force to help the boy return to Hong Kong," said the spokesman.

The boy's father is being detained pending further investigations.

Yesterday, the Singapore police issued a statement saying that the boy had been identified.

"Police have established the identity of the boy who was found on July 21 at the Marina Promenade after extensive investigations," the statement said.

It said the police here were working closely with their Hong Kong counterparts.

"Investigations are ongoing and arrangements will be made to return the boy to his place of origin as soon as possible."

Local policemen found the boy on Monday evening and approached him for information about his parents, but he would not talk. He was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt and khaki pants.

Police could not ascertain then if he was local or foreign.

On Wednesday, they posted his photograph on their Facebook page to appeal for his next-of-kin, but no one came forward to claim him.

Consulting psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Dr Brian Yeo, said he found the abandonment of the boy quite shocking: "If children get abandoned, they are usually infants, and typically swaddled in clothes with a red packet left behind."

Even though his father has been identified, it is still important for the child to be kept in a safe place and for the authorities to ensure his best interests are served, he said.

This article was first published on July 27, 2014.
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