A 78-year-old man who committed two "repulsive rapes" on his four-year-old granddaughter was jailed for 11 years by a Hong Kong court on Friday.
The High Court heard the child, now five, dared not tell anyone after her paternal grandfather, named only by his initials M.P.S. to protect her identity, first assaulted her in autumn 2017 and claimed that her mother would be furious if she were to find out.
A clinical psychologist said the secret left the child feeling very sad and angry, with a profound and prolonged sense of hopelessness and helplessness, on top of insecurity reflected in her drawings.
Her mother also reported great distress and strong self blame after she walked in on M.P.S. pulling up her daughter's shorts in bed while he was dressed only in boxer shorts in his flat on August 6 last year. When confronted, M.P.S. kept quiet while the child started to cry.
She later told her mother outside the flat: "Grandpa took off my pants, used what he used to pee to touch where I pee. I felt very itchy and uncomfortable."
But the psychologist found she had internalised the responsibility for the abuse and even apologised to her mother, after her grandparents scolded her for telling lies.
The case was reported to police on the same evening.
When asked why he had committed the offence, M.P.S. said he wanted to see if he would be sexually aroused when he assaulted her.
The Malaysian-born defendant pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of rape.
The court heard he had fathered four children and was grandfather to two boys and four girls.
Pre-sentencing reports said the retiree did not suffer from any emotional or psychological disorder but revealed that he had limited empathy for his victim and no emotional bonding with her.
His defence counsel said the grandfather felt truly remorseful and pleaded guilty for mercy, considering his advanced age.
But Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam said age was not an effective mitigation when the defendant had "committed two very serious and repulsive rapes on a very young girl who is his granddaughter".
The judge said the offence was aggravated by the fact that M.P.S. had breached the trust of an extremely young child, assaulted her without taking any protective measures and that he did not stop after she complained of pain.
Pang also noted that the defendant had used the child as a sexual object and said it was disheartening and worrying to see the severe impact on the psychological well-being of the child and her mother.
The court heard both would require psychological treatment to process the trauma.
"Instead of being a carer and protector, he became an abuser," the judge said. "The only thing he acted responsibly on was his pleading to the charges, thus saving (the child) from the further trauma of testifying in court."
Rape is punishable by life imprisonment.
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