24 August 2019
Blanca Cousins (inset) loved horses. Immigration officials are being asked why she never got a birth certificate. Photos: Mingpao, internet
Blanca Cousins (inset) loved horses. Immigration officials are being asked why she never got a birth certificate. Photos: Mingpao, internet

Mother of death plunge teen charged

The mother of the teenage girl who fell to her death from the family’s flat in Repulse Bay has been charged with two offenses. 

Hong Kong police charged Herminia Garcia, a Filipino former domestic helper, on Wednesday night with overstaying her visa and with ill-treatment or neglect by a person in charge of a child or young person.

Garcia is due to appear at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts Thursday, Apple Daily reported.

Blanca Cousins, 15, one of Garcia’s two daughters with British insurance executive Nick Cousins, died Tuesday after she fell from the bathroom of the master bedroom of the 19th-floor flat in Repulse Bay Road, one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive residential areas.

Police investigators said Blanca had been unhappy about her identity, possibly because her birth had never been registered.

The newspaper quoted unnamed Immigration Department sources as saying the department sent out three letters, including registered letters, after Blanca and her younger sister were born to remind the parents to register the birth of their children.

There was no response from the parents, the sources said. 

Director of Immigration Eric Chan Kwok-ki declined to reply to a question from media on Wednesday about why Blanca never had a birth certificate.

Asked whether the department had neglected its duty, Chan would only say that it was an offense for parents not to register the birth of a child.

Parents are required to do so within 42 days after a baby is born, he said.

Chan said the department has a mechanism to check whether parents have applied for a birth certificate for their baby.

Police investigations continue into how Garcia could have given birth to her two daughters at Matilda International Hospital without a Hong Kong identification card.

The hospital declined to answer a question from the newspaper, citing the privacy of its patients, but stressed that it normally submits online information about newborn babies daily to the Immigration Department’s website.

Before 2009, information was sent weekly. The records are kept for 21 years.

Blanca’s younger sister was reunited with her father after spending a night under government protection at a children’s home.

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British executive arrested after teen daughter falls to death [April 8]

Mother of death plunge teen granted bail [April 10]

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