A 90-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has been charged with theft after she allegedly admitted stealing a pack of fish meat and sausages at a ParknShop store in Tseung Kwan O, Apple Daily reported on Friday.
The old woman’s granddaughter, surnamed Siu, said the police did not follow proper procedures in taking her statement, and insisted she only forgot to pay at the cashier.
She said her grandmother could hardly communicate with the police because she only speaks the Hakka dialect.
According to Siu, the old woman was living by herself and often took a walk to shopping malls nearby.
She said she was to meet up with her grandmother for lunch on the day when the incident happened, which was in May.
She said she called the old woman several times but to no avail.
In the end, someone answered and told her that her grandmother was at the Tseung Kwan O police station. The person on the other end of the line refused to offer more details.
Siu rushed to the station but police officers there did not explain to her what had happened.
Her grandmother told her she had no idea what was happening and she thought the bail she paid was for the goods she bought at the supermarket.
According to the police statement, her grandmother admitted to stealing the products for self-consumption, and that she confirmed she was illiterate and asked for mercy.
But Siu said police had put down “local language” for her grandmother, who actually speaks Hakka dialect, although she understands Cantonese.
She also said her grandmother has an impaired sense of hearing.
Siu asked the ParknShop management to provide a CCTV footage of the incident, but the store refused.
Her grandmother has been losing sleep after knowing she was charged with theft.
The grandmother had to go to the police station three times during a two-month period before she was released after a warning was handed to her.
Siu also hit out at the police for not following proper procedures and being mean to an old person.
Barrister Albert Luk said police officers should always get an interpreter when taking statements from a suspect even if only 10 percent of the suspect’s words are spoken in a dialect other than Cantonese.
He said a police statement can be voided over the language issue.
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