The shopping mall on 42 Castle Peak Road, Sham Tseng. Photo: Google Maps

A 37-year-old Filipina who pleaded guilty to one count of preventing the lawful burial of a body last year was handed a 12-month jail sentence by a District Court on Thursday.

On March 21, 2015, the defendant – Aileen Ongcoy Grado – a foreign domestic helper, gave birth to a baby son alone at her employer’s home in Sham Tseng, Tuen Mun. The baby cried for only a few minutes and showed no signs of life thereafter, she said, according to the Oriental Daily. The newspaper’s report said she tried to resuscitate him but her efforts were in vain.

Grado then panicked and wrapped the dead body in clothes and plastic and abandoned it at a toilet in a shopping mall on Castle Peak Road the following day.

On April 4, 2015, Grado surrendered herself to the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, HK01.com reported.

Her defence lawyer pleaded that Grado’s boyfriend, who was the biological father of the deceased son, disappeared shortly after her pregnancy. She decided to keep the baby but disclosed its existence to no-one as she feared losing her job. 

She is also a single mother of an eight-year-old daughter and sent HK$2,000 (US$257) a month to support her family in the Philippines.

Judge Kwok Wai-kin said during the sentencing that all humans deserve a proper burial and it was insulting to treat the child’s body as waste. A heavy sentence that serves as a deterrent would thus be applicable in this case.

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