A pair of drug-addicted Hong Kong parents who starved their then five-month-old son to acute dehydration last April were both jailed for 14 months, beginning immediately, by Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old man, surnamed Lee, and 36-year-old wife, surnamed Chow, had pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse on April 12, Apple Daily reported.

Acting principal magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said the case was the most serious of its kind as the life of the baby was threatened by inexplicable and irresponsible parenting.

The defense lawyer of the jobless couple told the court that the inexperienced parents required coaching on how to raise a child instead of imprisonment. The magistrate dismissed the proposal, saying it was the God-given duty of parents to feed their baby.

To also refused to take Chow’s confession – that her drug addiction made it impossible for her to be good mother – as a valid plea for a lighter sentence.

Given that Chow is pregnant at the moment, her third child is expected to be born in custody. Her second-born child, the baby in the case, is now 17 months old and will remain in the care of Po Leung Kuk. Her first-born 12-year-old son is being looked after by Chow’s mother.

Read: Hong Kong couple plead guilty to child abuse charge