The man may have chained kids out of desperationBUTTERWORTH: The man accused of shackling his children in a bathroom is not as cruel as he had been made out to be, according to his neighbours and police.
“Their relationship is very close.
“The children would give their father a goodbye kiss whenever he leaves the house,” said a neighbour, known only as Lee.
Lee said the man had been under much stress since his Thai wife left home about a month ago.
Another neighbour, who wished to be known only as Gan, said the father was a friendly man and he seldom scolded his children.
“I am not sure why he decided to chain the kids, but I guess he was at wit’s end on how to take care of them,” said Gan, who runs a plastics shop next to the double-storey shoplot in Taman Mawar on Jalan Raja Uda where the family stays.
The two children, aged two and six, had been chained inside the bathroom of their home on Wednesday.
Authorities broke into the place after being alerted by neighbours who heard them crying.
Their father has been detained while the children have been warded at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.
Gan said the children were usually left in the one-bedroom home on the first floor when the father went out to deliver goods to customers from 3pm to 10pm.
“He is very busy as he runs a shop on the ground floor while his children live upstairs,” he said.
Asked about the children’s behaviour, Gan said the two-year-old boy was naughty and had thrown toys and chairs out from the balcony.
Another neighbour, Soy, said that she would give the children some bread when she heard their cries.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said the community must play its role and help the family instead of blaming the man for his action.
“We must not just look at the case from the criminal aspect.
“Obviously, he was under a lot of stress and he needs help and support from the community at this point,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Raymond Tan, the uncle of the two siblings, has stepped in to take temporary custody of the two children.
The North Seberang Prai district Welfare Department will apply for a court order to grant temporary custody to Tan, pending the outcome of investigations into the case.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said Tan had agreed to temporarily care for his nephew and niece, and they would live with his family at his home in Bayan Baru.
He said Tan told him that the children’s father had expressed remorse but explained that he had no choice as his son was hyperactive.
“Sometimes, the child would throw things around at his home and the father decided to chain him as he was afraid that his son might run out of the house,” said Phee, who visited them at the hospital.
Both the children were in good health.
Tan said his 40-year-old brother worked as a chemical supplier and that he was a caring man who loved his children.
“My brother has never done such a thing before and I was shocked over the incident.”
Tan said his Thai sister-in-law, who is said to be two months’ pregnant, had gone backto her hometown in Bangkok to visit her family. - The Star
Kids home alone and chained
By M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA, KOW KWAN YEE and FONG KEE SOON firstname.lastname@example.orgBUTTERWORTH: Two children, aged two and six, were left home alone for hours and worse, they were chained in the bathroom.
Their father, a despatcher in his 40s, left them chained in their house in Jalan Raja Uda, apparently for “being naughty”.
The girl and her younger brother were left without food for about four hours before they were finally rescued on Wednesday.
North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Zulkifli Alias said neighbours who heard the children's cries called a volunteer patrol team, who then alerted the police and Welfare Department.
“The authorities broke into the house through the front door and freed the children,” he said.
When met at the Seberang Jaya Hospital where they were admitted to, the six-year-old girl said: “I was scared and hungry so my brother and I began shouting for our father.”
When asked whether she or her brother was in pain, she said no.
The girl, however, seemed unable to answer when asked whether they had been chained previously.
She said there had been no visits from relatives since they were sent to the hospital.
ACP Zulkifli said the father claimed that the children were naughty, so he chained them and left them without food as punishment.
He also told police that his wife left home about a month ago.
Police picked up a man at a shophouse in Taman Mawar shortly after the children were rescued at about 8.40pm. He has been remanded for four days.
“Initial investigations revealed that the children were chained before he left for work at about 3pm,” ACP Zulkifli said at the district police headquarters in Bertam, Kepala Batas, yesterday.
A neighbour, who works as a mechanic, said he heard the crying while he was at his workshop, which was next to the shoplot near Jalan Raja Uda where the children live.
“I heard them crying at around 2pm on Wednesday. I did not think much of it as I thought the kids were just quarrelling,” said the neighbour who declined to be named.
“So I was shocked to see Rela members at the house around 8.45pm. I only realised the kids were chained when some of them showed me the photographs,” he said.
He said he often heard the children crying since his car workshop opened for business about a month ago.
A Chinese vernacular newspaper in its evening edition quoted the father as saying that he was forced to chain his children because they would dirty the house if they were left unattended.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the children would be placed under the custody of the Welfare Department for now.