The Daughter of Kwok-A Incident (Template:Zh) is the popular term for a controversial Social Welfare case in Hong Kong during 1986. The handling of the incident by then Director of Social Welfare (later Chief Secretary for Administration) Anson Chan drew heavy criticism from the Hong Kong press at the time.
The press in Hong Kong first reported on a potential child abuse case earlier in 1986. The report was about a 6-year-old child, the daughtger of Kwok Ah, who was illegally detained by her mother at their public housing flat in the Kwai Hing district of Hong Kong. It was suspected at the time that the mother, Wong Yuen-siu, was mentally unstable, a claim that was backed by her constant swearing in public.
Action and conclusion
After the Social Welfare Department investigated the case, the department, with authorisation from Anson Chan, broke into the housing flat and forcibly separated the child from her mother under a child and mother protection law. The daughter was sent to the a child home facility after the break-in, and the mother was sent to a local hospital for evaluations.
For years after the incident, the Social Welfare Department, for reasons of child abuse, barred visits between Kwok Ah-nui and her mother, but it was later dropped in favour of no more than two visits a week.
The Kwok-A Incident drew heavy discussions and criticism from the Hong Kong media, with many criticising the Social Welfare Department for flagrant abuse of power. Many also questioned the necessity of breaking into a house and separating a family by force.
Afterwards, the Hong Kong government investigated the entire incident, and released a report which suggested a number of rules, such as reserving breaking into a house to forcibly separate a family for the most extreme of circumstances.
As a result of the report findings, the Social Welfare Department established emergency case units and psychological services in an effort to prevent the recurrence of such an incidence.
The political career of Anson Chan was also tainted for a time. Many criticised her for being too authoritarian and inconsiderate. The criticism, however, has long died down, and few mainstream opinions now attack Chan for her role in this matter
The Kwok-A Incident has long faded into popular memory as a product of the 80's. Although there are certain social welfare cases in recent times that were lauded as another Kwok-A Incident, nothing of this magnitude has materialised, and the "breaking and entering" rules that were the center of controversy have not been practised for a considerable amount of time.
All of the content of this article comes from the equivalent Chinese Wikipedia article, accessed on Jul. 11, 2006.
- Louis Liu, "Another demand for resignation of SWD chief", South China Morning Post, 04 July 1986
- "'Lonely girl' review backs welfare chief", South China Morning Post, 30 Jul 1986