A 66-year-old grandmother who helped her mainland-born grandson stay illegally in Hong Kong for nine years has been given a suspended jail sentence after the judge exercised leniency in what he considered a unique case.
Andrew Ma Hon-cheung, principal magistrate at Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court, on Tuesday sentenced Chow Siu-shuen to four months in jail for aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring a breach of conditions of stay for her 12-year-old grandson Siu Yau-wai, but allowed a probation of three years, Sing Tao Daily reported.
Ma said the decision was based on the unique nature of the case and was made after balancing legality and compassion while considering that Chow had assumed the role of a mother to the boy and deserved compassion.
The lenient sentence should not set a precedent for future cases, Ma added.
Defense barrister Hectar Pun submitted a letter to the court from Siu, who said he would prefer to go to prison for his grandmother.
Siu had lived in Hong Kong for nine years without proper identity documents since 2006 but he voluntarily returned to the mainland in June.
He is now living in Shenzhen with Chow commuting between Shenzhen and Hong Kong over the past four months.
A Hong Kong volunteer is said to be visiting Siu in Shenzhen three times a week to teach him reading and writing as he has yet to be enrolled in a formal school.
Chow, who pleaded guilty last month, said outside the court that she felt relieved by the court’s decision and all she wants to do is meet Siu as soon as possible.
She said she hoped someone would adopt the boy as she is old and does not know how much longer she could support him.
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