The grandmother of a 12-year-old boy who lived undocumented in Hong Kong for nine years has been sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for three years, for aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a breach of conditions of stay.

Chow Siu-shuen, 66, grandmother of Xiao Youhuai, pleaded guilty at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts in October.

Barrister Hectar Pun, who represented Chow, said in court that the Probation Officer’s Reports do not recommend probation, because there is a low chance she will commit the offense again, i-cable reported.

Chow Siu-shuen. Photo: Apple Daily.

Pun added that Chow needs to take care of Xiao in Shenzhen, that he hoped the court would consider the fact that Chow surrendered herself to the authorities.

He submitted mitigation letters from Chow’s husband and Xiao, that they asked the judge to forgive her. Xiao wrote in the letter that he is willing to go to prison for his grandmother.

Pun said that Chow felt a lot of pressure from attacks on the internet after media reported the case. He asked the court to give non-immediate custodial sentence, as Chow did not benefit financially from the case.

Xiao and his grandmother. Photo: Apple Daily

The overstay was revealed in May at a press conference organised by Chan Yuen-han of the Federation of Trade Unions.

Xiao, whose parents abandoned him, was brought from mainland China to Hong Kong by Chow on a two-way permit, which he overstayed.

Neither Xiao nor his parents are from Hong Kong, thus he had no right to stay in Hong Kong.

Chan Yuen-han came under fire for assisting Xiao, with protesters demonstrating outside Chan’s Wong Tai Sin offices, criticising Chan for damaging the rule of law and demanding the immediate deportation of Xiao.

Xiao was allowed to stay in Hong Kong between October 27 and November 3 in 2006, but he stayed until May 21 this year.

The Immigration Department has granted Xiao recognizance, but he was voluntarily deported back to mainland China in June.


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.