The Hong Kong High Court where the case is being heard. Photo: Wikipedia
The Hong Kong High Court where the case is being heard. Photo: Wikipedia

A 24-year-old Indian domestic worker pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter of her employer’s two-and-a-half-year-old son at the High Court in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The court heard that Arshdeep Kaur had been suffering from acute mental illness, according to three reports presented by the prosecution, the Oriental Daily reported. She originally faced a charge of murder.

Arshdeep had been employed by an Indian couple in March 2016 to take care of their son in Tin Shui Wai in the New Territories. The incident took place on October 24.

The court heard that Arshdeep took the boy to the sitting room and turned off the surveillance camera. She then took the boy back to the bedroom and strangled him for 10 minutes.

The couple rushed home when they discovered the surveillance camera appeared to have stopped working and they could not contact the woman.

They found their son lying on a bed unconscious and the woman had disappeared. The boy was later pronounced dead at the Tuen Mun Hospital and police apprehended Arshdeep in the afternoon.

On her way to the police station, Arshdeep uttered words including “murder” and “a baby” and said she did not know why she committed the crime and said she had a mental problem and always forgot what had happened.

Deputy judge Gareth Lugar-Mawson ordered reports on Arshdeep’s mental state before sentencing on November 13. The mother of the boy told reporters after the court hearing that she could not believe Arshdeep had a mental illness.

She said Arshdeep had performed normally at work since she was hired and had been good with her son, adding that she turned off the web camera before the crime.

Psychiatrist Dr Au Yeung Kwok-leung said a number of domestic workers seek medical consultations as they face difficulties and have pressure because of the cultural differences and homesickness, Apple Daily reported.

Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, the chairperson of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers’ Association, said it was hard to know if domestic workers suffered from any mental illnesses through the standard health check. She advised employers to look for other domestic workers if they found any suspicious behavior by their employees.

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