Published: 13:52, June 6, 2023 | Updated: 21:11, June 6, 2023
CE vows to do more to address domestic violence cases
By Xi Tianqi in Hong Kong

Policemen carry pieces of evidence collected from the flat of three young girls who were allegedly suffocated by their mother in Sham Shui Po on June 5, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Tuesday he was deeply saddened by the deaths of three young girls in a domestic violence case, and pledged to do more in dealing with cases of mental health and domestic violence to prevent such tragedies and provide support for those in need.

Speaking ahead of a weekly Executive Council meeting, he said the special administrative region government is deeply concerned about two tragic incidents in the city within a week. The government will strive to strengthen collaboration between the public and private sectors, including medical institutions and social welfare institutions, to provide relevant services.

Lee said violence would only exacerbate problems, and it’s important to protect children. He urged residents to pay particular attention to each other, and they should seek help if necessary

Lee’s remarks a day after an Indian mother allegedly suffocated her three daughters, aged 2 to 5, to death in a sub-divided flat in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. An initial police investigation revealed that the 29-year-old woman has had a troubled relationship with her husband. The tragedy followed the brutal stabbing of two young women at a shopping plaza in Diamond Hill on June 2. The two victims were chopped to death by a man believed to be mentally ill as they were their way to a family gathering.  

Lee said violence would only exacerbate problems, and it’s important to protect children. He urged residents to pay particular attention to each other, and they should seek help if necessary.

The Social Welfare Department and the Home Affairs Department office in Sham Shui Po, together with non-governmental organizations, have set up mobile service stations and organized seminars in the area, Lee said.

The SWD is operating a 24-hour hotline to provide emotional support to residents in need. Related seminars will be held in Sham Shui Po in the next few days, and the New Home Association will provide a 24-hour hotline to support ethnic minority families affected by violent domestic incidents.

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Lee stressed that the government is concerned about each case of domestic violence. If a case is discovered, law enforcement agencies will take action, and the SWD will assess the situation to meet the needs of those affected.

One-stop support services will be offered to those affected, especially victims, their families, and perpetrators, including emotional and behavioral counseling, clinical psychological services, accommodation services, medical services, and statutory protection for children when necessary.

Lee urged residents to cooperate with the government in handling cases of domestic violence. Besides reminding those in need to seek help, residents can also provide information to the relevant government departments for early intervention.

Lee believes care teams set up in the city’s 18 districts can provide early assistance and support to those affected.

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Responding to the shopping mail stabbings, the Advisory Committee on Mental Health will convene a meeting on Friday to discuss ways of addressing mental health issues in Hong Kong in a more integral, safe and comprehensive approach.

The committee will touch on issues relating to the Hospital Authority’s psychiatric services and manpower, rehabilitation services and support for those in mental recovery, as well as mental health support for caregivers and specific groups in the community.

The committee will also address the issue of reducing public misunderstanding of people with mental health needs, as well as the handling of videos and online content that may have a negative impact on public mental health.