SCMP Friday, September 8, 2000

New poster campaign for missing boy


The last picture taken of missing autistic boy Yu Man-hon before he disappeared 15 days ago was used in a new appeal poster yesterday.
The picture was taken by the Immigration Department when they detained Man-hon, who has a mental age of two, at Lowu border crossing soon after he ran away from his mother at Yau Ma Tei MTR station.
Cross-border bus operators have promised to place the notices on their 600 coaches in an attempt to find the 15-year-old, who loves riding on buses and trains.
They also will be posted on cross-border container trucks, KCRC trains, border control points and immigration offices. About 1,000 copies will be given to Shenzhen and Guangdong Public Security Bureaus and 500 to Man-hon's parents.
The black and white poster carries a picture of Man-hon taken while he was detained by SAR immigration officers at Lowu after Shenzhen officials found the boy and asked the Hong Kong side to confirm his identity.
Man-hon was handed back to Shenzhen after being interviewed for two hours, during which time he did not respond to questions and had no documents to show he came from the SAR. He then disappeared.
The picture of Man-hon in school uniform used in the media over the past two weeks was taken at least a year ago when he was slimmer. The new posters also carry descriptions of the boy, detailing his difficulty in communicating and tendency to wave his hands around.
SAR Immigration authorities are investigating if staff negligence or poor procedures allowed him to cross the border without a travel document.
The Social Welfare Department yesterday sent a clinical psychologist and social worker to Shenzhen to give counselling to Man-hon's distraught mother, Yu Lai Wai-ling, who is staying in the city to await news of her son.
"They told me how to alleviate pressure," Mrs Yu said. "They said I should not be too upset and to take good care of myself as I still have a younger son to look after. I feel better after talking with them."
The psychologist and social worker said they would return to see Mrs Yu if it was necessary.
On Wednesday, Guangdong promised to improve the way it handles people found wandering at the border if an inquiry into Man-hon's disappearance suggests faulty procedures were to blame.
The vice-director of the Guangdong Public Security Bureau's propaganda department, Li Shibin, said mainland authorities would improve their procedures for handling such cases if necessary. "But what has gone wrong has to be found out first," he said.