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Mentally disabled man goes without food or care for a week after mother dies at home

The body of an elderly woman, who lived with her mentally disabled son, was found in their home in Shatin over the weekend, as long as a week after she had died.

The 48-year-old son who lived with his mother, 77, could not comprehend what had happened and had been left without food or care while staying in their public unit home in Sun Wai House, at Sun Tsui Estate.

The tragedy came to light after a security guard called the police when he smelled a strong odour coming from the flat during a routine patrol on Saturday night. Through the partly open front door, the guard reportedly saw the son sitting on the floor, asking for food.

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Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. It was believed the mother had been dead for as long as a week.

Neighbours said the mother and the son had lived there for more than 20 years and had been living on public assistance.

One neighbour said she had not seen the mother and the son for about a week. She thought they had gone to the mainland to visit relatives.

Labour Party legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung urged the government to provide more support for parents of children with intellectual disability.

Cheung said mentally disabled people sometimes had to wait for five years before they could get access to day care services.

He urged the government to send social workers to outreach and pay regular visits to families where there are adult mentally disabled members taken care by elderly carers.