A care worker at a centre for children with special needs run by Hong Kong charity group the Yan Chai Hospital Board has been suspended from duty after a police investigation into alleged mistreatment of a four-year-old boy was launched.
The abuse is alleged to have been detected when Social Welfare Department staff reviewed security camera footage in a random check at Law’s Foundation Child Care Centre cum Hostel on Monday, a spokesman for the department confirmed on Tuesday.
Department officials alerted the police and the child was later examined in hospital.
The spokesman added officials had asked management at the home, which looks after children with physical and mental disabilities, to investigate the allegations and submit a report.
He added that officials had also checked the other children in the centre on Monday to ensure their health and safety.
The centre, on Yan Chai Street in Tsuen Wan, opened in 2000 and was designed for children aged two to six with severe physical and mental disabilities who need constant care.
The home also looks after children with physical and mental disabilities who are homeless or have been abandoned.
The Yan Chai Hospital Board told the Post the “inappropriate actions” were said to have happened on October 3, when the special child care worker with five years of experience at the centre tried to calm the emotional boy.
The hospital added the employee was now suspended while an investigation was carried out.
A police spokesman said the case was reported on Tuesday by the Social Welfare Department. No arrests were made.
A string of child abuse cases in recent times has shocked the city, with dozens of staff arrested for alleged mistreatment of more than 40 children in their care.
The allegations involve Po Leung Kuk and the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children, the city’s two main charities that provide residential childcare services.
The Education Bureau also received a string of complaints against Hong Chi Pinehill No 2 School, a special needs school with boarding facilities in Tai Po, this month, which involved allegations of “administrative impropriety” and “inappropriate treatment of students by staff”.
The government set up the Committee on Review of Residential Child Care and Related Services in April to look into child care in the city after the first allegations of child abuse surfaced last December.
The committee’s suggestions included stepping up inspection efforts by establishing service quality groups made up of Justices of the Peace and independent professionals from a variety of sectors.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun Yuk-han also pledged last week to speed up legislation designed to make it mandatory for professionals who worked with children to report abuse.